Investigate Deaths of Rare Monkeys

Cotton Top Tamarin

Target: U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack

Goal: Investigate the freezing deaths of two monkeys who were left out in the cold at a zoo

Two endangered monkeys froze to death at a Louisiana zoo due to “human error.” Three cotton-top Tamarins were left out in the cold all night when the temperature fell to around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though the vulnerable monkeys are critically endangered, they were somehow neglected by their caretaker, causing two of them to die huddled in the cold.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now looking into whether there should be an investigation about whether the Alexandria zoo committed any violations of the Animal Welfare Act that contributed to these entirely avoidable deaths. Considering the fact that cotton-top Tamarins are one of the rarest primate species in the world, with only 6,000 of them left, and these two suffered a horrible death that should have never occurred, the least the USDA could do would be to launch a formal investigation.

The zoo in question claims that this was due to human error and not a systematic problem. However, something so simple as making sure critically endangered animals are put inside when it gets too cold for them should never be overlooked in any decent zoo. The people responsible for these animals should be punished for their failure. Sign the petition to urge the USDA to launch an investigation into possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Recently, two critically endangered primates froze to death at an Alexandria, Louisiana zoo because their caretaker failed to put them inside on a night when the temperature dropped to near freezing. Unable to tolerate such low temperatures, two of the three cotton-top Tamarins died a horrific death that could have easily been prevented if only the caretaker had done their job. This zoo has failed to provide for the welfare of some of the rarest primates on earth, and those responsible must be punished.

I know that your department is considering investigating the Alexandria zoo for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. It’s clear that the caretakers of the cotton-top Tamarins are guilty of the deadly neglect of their welfare. These vulnerable animals at least deserve an official investigation so that the zoo can be held accountable for its failures and motivated to change whatever needs to be changed to ensure that this never happens again.

I implore you to launch the investigation into the deaths of these two monkeys. With only 6,000 cotton-top Tamarins left in the wild, it is imperative that mistakes like this are never repeated. By investigating the Alexandria zoo, you’ll send the message that this kind of neglect is absolutely unacceptable and reduce the chances that it will happen again in the future. Please do what you can to protect endangered species in captivity.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: su neko via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Jan Underwood says:

    if they had been left in their own habitat this would never have happened. This is why we should ban zoos!

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