Friday, January 15, 2010

Monkey Starves To Death At UW Research Facility

monkey starvesThe University of Washington's National Primate Research Center is under scrutiny after it admits to allowing a monkey to starve to death.

A 3 1/2-year-old pigtailed macaque was found dead inside of its cage back in April. The likely cause of death was starvation.

The monkey had lost 25 percent of its body weight, and they typically only weigh between 12 and 24 pounds.

"As with any activity that's based on human behavior, occasionally mistakes will occur," said David Anderson, Director, National Primate Research Center.

Anderson says the monkey was housed at the research center with 15 other macaques. It appeared to have a healthy coat and was social with the others.

It's common for the monkeys to conceal sickness - a trait from the wild.

"Even though they're bred for research they maintain some of their behaviors in the wild and one of those is to hide any ill health or infirmity because obviously that would make them more susceptible to predation," said Anderson.

But the staff is required to weigh the animals every four weeks. In this case two months had gone by.

The problem? A change in staff and confusion over who was responsible.

This is not the first time UW's program has been under a microscope. There have been other incidents, including five baboons that died of thirst in 1995 at a breeding center near Spokane.

Full story here.

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