The last of the monkeys that escaped from a truck after it had crashed on a Pennsylvanian highway have been accounted for and three have been euthanised.
Several monkeys had escaped following Friday’s collision between the pickup truck transporting them and a dump truck, but only one had remained unaccounted for as of Saturday morning, prompting the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies to launch a search for it in frigid weather.
Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an email on Saturday evening that all 100 of the cynomolgus macaques had since been accounted for and three were euthanised.
The email did not elaborate on why the three were euthanised or how all came to be accounted for. But Nordlund said those euthanised were done so humanely.
The shipment of monkeys was en route to a quarantine facility after arriving on Friday morning at New York’s Kennedy airport from Mauritius, police said.
The location of the quarantine facility and the type of research for which the monkeys were apparently destined weren’t clear, but cynomolgus monkeys are often used in medical studies. A 2015 paper posted on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information referred to them as the most widely used primate in preclinical toxicology studies.
Earlier, police had earlier urged people not to look for or capture any monkey.
State trooper Lauren Lesher had said the concern was “due to it not being a domesticated animal and them being in an unknown territory. It is hard to say how they would react to a human approaching them.”
The collision occurred on Friday afternoon near Danville, in Montour county, on a state highway near an Interstate 80 exit.
The drivers of the trucks weren’t harmed and a passenger was transported to a medical centre for treatment of suspected minor injuries, according to the state police’s crash report.
Crates littered the road as troopers searched for the monkeys, rifles in hand. Firefighters used thermal imaging to try to locate the animals and a helicopter also assisted.