Monday, May 16, 2005

Lincoln Park Zoo under scrutiny

Nearly 200 people gathered outside Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to support a recent string of animal deaths.

An endangered monkey is in quarantine while experts at the Lincoln Park Zoo try to determine what killed three other Francois langurs, the latest in a series of animal deaths that have prompted activists to call for a criminal investigation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is already looking into possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the zoo, and the group that accredits U.S. zoos is now reviewing all animal care practices there.

Zoo officials say the unexpected deaths of the monkeys this week may be linked to their recent move to a new exhibit that gave them access to the outdoors.

Their deaths follow those of two elephants, two gorillas and a camel at the zoo since October, and the death of another elephant earlier this month as it was being transferred from Chicago to Utah.

"It's unheard of for one zoo to have this many animal deaths over such a short period of time," said Debbie Leahy with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "I believe three elephant deaths in six months is a national record."

PETA is calling for prosecutors to investigate the zoo for potential violations of the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act. The act is used to prosecute animal abuse of any kind, said Chris Herbert, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture.

Story here.

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