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Latest: Teen monkey who escaped undergoing evaluation, expected to rejoin habitat in coming days


The young rhesus macaque monkey that escaped from the UL New Iberia Research Center on Saturday was spotted and later captured Monday on Admiral Doyle Drive in New Iberia. 

News Ten spoke with the Director at the center who says the monkey escaped due to a cage failure.

“We’ve got almost 7,000 animals so they will test their enclosure all of the time,” says Dr. Francois Villinger. 

Dr. Villinger says Saturday morning they realized a monkey from a breeding compound managed to escape. 

“When that happens they usually stay with their primates. They don’t go very far because they are social animals and they are relatively stressed if they go into a new environment but this one decided to explore. He’s a young male, in the prime of his adolescence and so he went out,” Villinger said.  

Teams searched around the clock and on Monday morning a New Iberia resident driving to work spotted him, and called the number posted to the UL Facebook page and now the monkey is back at the center. 

“The monkey’s doing good, he underwent the full veterinary assessment.  We will keep him under observation for the next couple of days and then he will be rejoined with his group,” Villinger said. 

According to the University, the monkey wasn’t carrying and transmittable diseases, and was not a threat to the public.

In a statement released by PETA, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in which they claimed the center failed to mention that Herpes B is endemic in the macaque monkey,  and is fatal to humans. 

Before this weekend, the research center had not experienced an escape since 2004. 

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