Stop Trapping Silver River Monkeys!
For the first time in 15 years, wild rhesus monkeys of North Central Florida’s Silver River area may not be trapped. Since 1998, one trapper, Scott Cheslak of Beaufort, South Carolina, has trapped and removed 800 monkeys and sold them to laboratories to be used in experiments. An open records request filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund revealed that Cheslak sold the monkeys to a research facility without possessing the license required under the Animal Welfare Act. The Florida Park Service confirmed that Cheslak does not currently have a state permit to trap and remove monkeys at Silver River State Park.
The monkeys have lived along the banks of the Silver River for over 70 years, and were introduced into the area by a tour boat operator in the 1930s. Although the monkeys live a peaceful existence, the State of Florida considers them to be “nonnative” and allows trapping to manage the monkey population. Clearly, there are better, more humane ways to manage populations without tearing them apart from their families and forest homes to be exploited in laboratory tests.
ALDF and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida urge the Florida Park Service to consider nonlethal alternatives to the trapping and removal of monkeys, such as sterilization and return to the environment. Otherwise, these sensitive and intelligent animals, once wild and free, will end their lives in the isolation of a laboratory.
It is time to stop the trapping of wild monkeys. They may not be trapped this year, but their reprieve is only temporary unless we find more humane solutions.
Update: This action is now concluded.
Sign the petition to the Florida Park Service and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to demand an end to the trapping of monkeys for the research industry at Silver River State Park and other state lands. Alternate methods should be implemented immediately.
Contact these agencies directly to show your individual support for the Silver River monkeys. A sample letter is provided below, but it is far more effective if you use your own words.
I am writing to ask you to immediately stop the trapping of wild monkeys on state lands along the Silver River in North Central Florida. The monkeys are being sold to testing facilities, where they will undoubtedly suffer. The Silver River State Park should be known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, NOT as a supplier of animals for laboratory exploitation. These wild monkeys deserve to live free from confinement and abuse.
Address your comments to:
Florida Park Service
Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr.
Department of Environmental Protection online comment form.
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