PCWS Press Release
Release Date: June 17, 2000
Contact: Hope Walker, President The Primate Conservation and Welfare Society (1-888-595-PCWS)
The Primate Conservation and Welfare Society (PCWS)
joins Mindy's Memory Primate Sanctuary in the battle to save abused and neglected monkeys and
PORT TOWNSEND, WA - For many months a resident of Bainbridge Island in Washington State observed with grave concern the
horrific living conditions of a neighbor's pet rhesus macaque, a type of monkey. Fortunately, the
animal-loving resident discovered the existence of The Primate Conservation and Welfare Society
(PCWS), located in nearby Port Townsend, WA.
"When this concerned citizen alerted PCWS to the
presence of a monkey living in substandard conditions on
Bainbridge Island, we immediately investigated the
situation," said Hope Walker, PCWS Founder and
Executive Director. "The first time I saw Gilligan in the owner's
backyard, it literally took my breath away. Here was a
full-grown macaque living in a plywood box surrounded
by garbage, in a residential neighborhood - it was truly
Gilligan's Old "Home"
Thanks to the cooperative efforts of local animal control
officials, Gilligan's owner agreed to turn the monkey over
to PCWS for placement in an appropriate facility. After
PCWS contacted several legitimate primate sanctuaries
in the United States, Mindy's Memory Primate Sanctuary
stepped forward to offer Gilligan a permanent home. "We
are a small sanctuary, but even so we were delighted to
help this monkey. His situation could not be ignored,
although he is just one of many living in such conditions
around the United States" says Mindy's Memory Director Linda Barcklay.
Unfortunately Gilligan's story is all too common. The popularity of non-human primates as pets in the
United States is on the increase. Breeders and dealers profit from taking newborn monkeys and apes
from their mothers and selling the babies for thousands of dollars to individuals who more often than not
have no education or experience in caring for such animals. Individuals who found their helpless, furry
infant so appealing are unprepared for the remarkable strength and often aggressive and unpredictable
behavior of an adult monkey or ape. Often these highly social animals are then cruelly isolated in a
small cage and neglected or mistreated. Primate sanctuaries offer the only hope for these amazing wild
animals who were never meant to live in a human household.
"It is appalling that exotic animal dealers continue to get away with selling dangerous wild animals as
pets to the general public, who for the most part have no earthly idea how to care for them. That is just
exactly how Gilligan ended up living in a dark plywood shed in someone's backyard. The owner meant
no harm -- he simply didn't know how to care for him and the dealer who originally sold the animal
certainly didn't offer any assistance, " stated Walker.
Gilligan at Mindy's Memory
The Primate Conservation & Welfare Society is currently developing a proposal for a primate
sanctuary -- a facility which would be used to offer a safe, permanent haven to primates in need.
"Sadly, due to the growing trade in these animals as pets, the need for additional primate sanctuaries is
not diminishing. The facility we propose will offer a home to hundreds of primates like Gilligan. We want
people to leave with a higher level of understanding and respect for our simian friends", says Walker.
Although the news for many primates kept
as pets isn't wonderful, for Gilligan the news
couldn't be better. "He arrived at the
sanctuary after a two day trip from
Washington State, and upon release into his
new enclosure, immediately rolled over on
his back and looked up at the sunny sky --
probably for the first time in more than five
years. It was a moving experience for us
all", says Barcklay, "especially given the
conditions he had suffered for so long."
For more information about the PCWS
Sanctuary please call 360.379.5564. PCWS
and Mindy's Memory wish to thank The
National Anti-Vivisection Society and the Ahimsa Foundation who, along with several dozen concerned
citizens, donated funds to help with Gilligan's rescue and his new home.