By Kate Good
Oh boy, we thought we had heard it all when it came to the abuse faced by animals in the zoo … but this news just might have topped our list of terribly, horrible things done to animals at the zoo. Two critically endangered monkeys died at Alexandria Zoological Park in Louisiana after the zookeeper left them outside in the freezing cold.
We can’t make this stuff up people. The monkeys were cotton-toped tamarin monkeys who are native to the forests of Columbia. Because of their tropical native climate, these monkeys need to be kept in an environment that is between 76 and 85 degrees. The night the monkey’s died, temperatures dropped to 30 degrees, an unbearable cold for these monkeys who weight little more than one pound.
There are only 6,000 wild cotton-toped tamarin monkeys left in the wild and their populations are at great risk from the illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss.
The circumstances behind why the employee left the monkeys out overnight are still unknown, but an investigation has been launched to find out more.
PETA has released a statement illustrating the fact that these monkeys have lead a sad, deprived life in captivity and that these unfortunate deaths could have been easily avoided. We have to agree with PETA there.
These monkeys are highly endangered, and while zoos like to claim they are committed to conservation efforts, taking animals from the wild and holding them in cages – oftentimes in climates that hardly resemble their native climate – does little but generate a profit for the zoo.
True conservation efforts need to focus on preserving the natural habitat and launching efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade that threatens these monkeys, and other animals, in the wild. That is the only real way we can hope to help this species.
This might be a blatant case of neglect that zoo animals suffer in captivity, but it points to the greater consequences that occur when we take animals from the wild and attempt to make them live in completely unnatural environments. No animal should have to suffer, let alone die because of our own foolishness.