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A healthy, two-pound squirrel monkey that escaped from Harvard’s New England Primate Resource Center (NEPRC) last month was found dead by the side of the road last month, according to the NEPRC.
The monkey was discovered missing while being transported around the Southborough, Mass., facility on July 11, and was not found until July 28, when the deceased primate was picked up from the side of the road in Maynard by the Department of Public Health. The department did not notify NEPRC that it had found the monkey until August 1.
The Center decided not to notify the public of the escaped monkey because the monkey did not present a threat to public health or safety. The Center also said that it did not want to attract public interest in looking for the monkey, since the monkey was known to be shy around humans, according to a Harvard Medical School spokesperson.
NEPRC did nothing wrong and “followed standard procedures and contacted the appropriate officials in the University, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and Police Department of Southborough, Mass.,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement.
NEPRC was also made aware on July 31 of a monkey sighting in Maynard, Mass. As a result, both the Maynard Board of Health and the local animal control officer offered to help in the attempt to recapture of the monkey.
The monkey was not involved in any research projects at the time of its escape.
NEPRC attributes the escape to the manner in which the monkey was transported. While the monkey was being transported on campus, the truck carrying it hit a bump, causing the cage to jostle and open.
NEPRC’s administration and staff said they have since reviewed the case and have adjusted transport procedures to prevent future escapes from occurring.
—MEGAN C. HARNEY
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