One of three capuchin monkeys seized by OSU escaped on arrival at Texas
facility; likely dead.
Created: April 25, 2006 2 p.m.
It has been confirmed that one of the three capuchin monkeys, Jane, an
older female who had been bequeathed to Dr. Sarah Boysen, Director of the
Chimpanzee Cognition Center, housed in a rented OSU facility, escaped on
the same day of arrival at a Texas facility, immediately after she had been
released into a corncrib enclosure. She was among a group of 3 capuchin
monkeys that had lived together for years, and had also participated in
numerous learning experiments with Dr. Boysen and her students, including
recent ground-breaking studies of causal understanding that was thought to
be beyond the ability of capuchins. The monkeys were taken from Dr.
Boysen‚s former laboratory at Ohio State in late February, 2006. They had
been transported along with Dr. Boysen'sr 9 chimpanzees, despite a previous
OSU contract with a new NIH-funded chimpanzee sanctuary, Chimp Haven, in
Shreveport, LA., if Dr. Boysen were incapacitated or, as OSU's Provost,
Barbara Synder put it, "hit by a bus".
Chimp Haven was built specifically for chimps who have previously
participated in NIH-funded research, and provides them with the opportunity
to spend the rest of their lives in retirement under the management of
primate veterinary and behavior experts, in a model facility. Chimp Haven
was designed to provide 5-acre natural islands of forest, and offer the
first taste of freedom in a natural outdoor environment for up to 300
chimps. However, OSU entered into a second contract with another facility,
Primarily Primates, located outside San Antonio, Texas. These facilities
have been well-known in the primate research community and among animal
welfare groups for many years to be sub-standard, but more critically,
Primarily Primates has no oversight by outside agencies that monitor and
accredit other sanctuaries and research labs, in an effort to insure the
highest quality of animal care.
The escaped capuchin monkey was apparently chased onto neighboring
property, and has not been seen since. It has been reported that Primarily
Primates staff had no equipment or means for pursuing the animal during
this emergency situation, casting further doubt on the level of care and
expertise of the personnel and management of the facilities. These concerns
have been voiced repeatedly by numerous other sanctuary directors and
animal activists, prior to OSU‚s removal of the monkeys and chimps from
their home of 23 years on University property. Tragically, this event
coincided with the death of one of the adult chimpanzees also removed by
Ohio State University officials on February 27th of this year. During
unloading, Kermit, the largest and dominant animal of the chimp group, was
apparently not monitored adequately following repeated attempts to
anesthetize him, and was found dead. Anesthesia was necessary because
there was no equipment available that would allow handlers to release the
chimps directly from their transport cages into their intended enclosures,
nor were there any doors in the enclosure that would have allowed the
chimps‚ travel cages to be connected directly for immediate release from
their travel cages.
A subsequent necropsy supports the view that Kermit died from a combination
of what was done to him upon arrive at Primarily Primates, including
repeated anesthesia, likely combined with the stress associated with
transport and the numerous attempts to put him to sleep for unloading, but
more importantly, the lack of sufficient monitoring after he had been
injected with four consecutive doses of anesthesia, and left unattended.
While news of both chimpanzees deaths, including Kermit‚s on March 2, 2006,
after four days in a transport truck, and more recently, the discovery of
Bobby, age 19, dead in his cage last Thursday, April 20th, 2006. Bobby was
"owned" personally by Dr. Boysen after he had been rescued from the
so-called entertainment business, and had been purchased from a private
individual who had been taking then 2-yr-old Bobby to state fairs and
shopping malls where he charged parents $5 to have their children's picture
taken with Bobby.
Tragically, there has no public report of the disappearance of Jane after
she escaped from an enclosure over TWO months ago from an enclosure that
was clearly not adequate for maintaining the animals‚ safety. To date,
University officials, the founder of Primarily Primates Wallace Swetts, and
other staff at the Texas facility have all failed to report Jane‚s escape
to the media, Dr. Boysen, or the public. In addition, PPI personnel failed
to make any significant effort to re-capture her. Thus, another tragic
event had occurred on the very first day the animals arrived in Texas.
Jane had lived her entire life in captivity, and would not have had the
necessary skills to survive on her own. And because no one was informed
who could have assisted in searching for her, in particular Dr. Boysen, it
is highly likely that Jane, along with the two chimpanzees, is also dead.
We are outraged, grief-stricken, and extremely concerned about the health
and welfare of the remaining monkeys and chimpanzees, and call for the
University to take immediate steps to remove them from the precarious
position they continue to have at Primarily Primates. There is clearly
increasing urgency to place them in an appropriate chimpanzee facility,
with proper veterinary care and trained personnel who have the requisite
knowledge, expertise, and compassion to care for the animals the way they
CONTACT: Dr. Sarah T. Boysen (614) 227-0651
President, Chimpanzee Cognition Center Foundation, Inc.
Business Office, 5th Floor
131 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43216