Update: The remaining monkeys that escaped when a truck carrying a trailer packed with 100 of them crashed on Friday in Pennsylvania have been captured. The AP reports a CDC rep on Saturday night confirmed all 100 of the cynomolgus macaque monkeys were accounted for and that three had been euthanized. The email noted they were euthanized humanely following American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines, but it did not specify why they were put down. Our original story from Saturday follows:
Two monkeys that apparently didn’t want to arrive at a Florida lab have escaped after a truck crash in rural Pennsylvania, according to NBC News. Approximately 100 cynomolgus monkeys were in an enclosed trailer attached to a pickup truck on Friday night when the driver crashed into a dump truck, the New York Times reports. Four of the primates escaped, but two were located. While no humans or animals were injured in the crash, it did close the interstate on which it occurred for about three hours. The crash happened in Danville, Pa., which is about 60 miles from Wilkes-Barre and 70 miles from the famous Hershey Park, according to Google Maps. Philadelphia is about 150 miles away.
Cynomolgus monkeys are often used for scientific research and the group could have cost as much as $1 million to purchase, per the Times. Their final destination was Florida, but little is known about their ultimate fate or whether they have health problems. A Pennsylvania state trooper working the case says anyone who sees one of the missing primates should not interact with the animal and instead call 911. Another official, a Pennsylvania State Police spokeswoman, says the department is committed to capturing the monkeys in a humane manner. Animal specialists with tranquilizers are helping law enforcement. Officials and local residents say they’re concerned about the monkeys because overnight temperatures were near zero.
Cynomolgus monkeys are also called crab-eating or long-tailed macaques and have reddish-brown fur and pink faces with whiskers, according to the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. These primates can live for 31 years and weigh between five and a half and 18 pounds. Cynomolgus monkeys were in high demand at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic for research and some scientists said they wanted to stockpile the animals as the US government does with oil and grain, per the Times. (Read more monkeys stories.)