Wayward Capuchin Monkey Sent to a New Home to Find Friends

A small capuchin monkey named Cuzco is making a new home—and hopefully making new friends—at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary in Florida. The young monkey was confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an illegal animal shipment from South America to Asia in 2008, and was given a home by the San Diego Zoo. Unfortunately, Cuzco was the only survivor of the family group found in the shipment, and efforts to introduce him to another capuchin monkey at the Zoo were not successful. Cuzco has been moved to Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary to be introduced to other monkeys of his species, under the agreement that San Diego Zoo Global will continue to monitor his progress and pay for his ongoing care.

Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary is home to 299 monkeys, who live on 39 acres in Gainesville, Fla. Jungle Friends provides permanent, high-quality sanctuary care for monkeys that have been confiscated by authorities, have retired from research, were former pets, or are in need of companionship with their own kind.

“With over 100 capuchins, we are optimistic about finding Cuzco a companion,” said Kari Bagnall, founder and executive director of Jungle Friends. “We care for the individual medical, psychological and behavioral needs of these monkeys by protecting and providing them a safe, healthy and stimulating environment for life.”

Wildlife trafficking is a serious issue threatening many species around the world. Animals like Cuzco are often taken out of their homes and subjected to horrific conditions, as they are smuggled to markets where they are sold as pets or vanity items. San Diego Zoo Global works with government agencies to raise awareness about wildlife trafficking and has a history of offering sanctuary to exotic animals needing care and protection.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.