Primate Rescue Center

In Sanctuaries

photoThe best, most humane option for unwanted pet primates, retired research subjects, and surplus zoo animals is undoubtedly a credible, well-run sanctuary that’s able to provide exemplary lifetime care. But not all sanctuaries provide the same quality of care or uphold the highest ethical standards; in fact, some so-called sanctuary operators actually sell baby monkeys to the public, thereby adding to the very problem they’re supposedly helping to solve. As a result, contributors need to be certain that their donations to a sanctuary are being put to the best possible and that the animals are truly benefiting.


Primate sanctuaries that are not open to the public need not be inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; as a result, it may be unclear whether the animals there are receiving quality care.

  • As nonprofit institutions, sanctuaries rely on donations from the public. But during tough economic times, when donations may be down, sanctuaries may not have the wherewithal to provide their usual quality of care.
  • Many states have no mandated regulations concerning the operation of sanctuaries, so even those without the proper knowledge or background can take in unwanted animals, build a website, and then solicit financial aid from the public or businesses.
  • Some so-called sanctuaries are hardly distinguishable from roadside zoos: they charge admission fees, permit interaction with the animals, and make money off of concessions, parties, and commercial photo shoots, subjecting the animals to undue stress.
  • Some sanctuaries are mom-and-pop operations with no feasible plans to care for the animals if they’re sick or otherwise unavailable.
  • There’s no requirement that sanctuaries render their animals reproductively inactive or keep breeding-age males and females separate, which contributed to unwanted births and exacerbates the problem of overcrowding.

Bottom Line
Sanctuaries need to be totally transparent about how they raise and spend money, and would-be donors need to research sanctuaries thoroughly before providing them financial support.

Share | |

Recent Video


Sign up for the PRC Newsletter and receive regular updates about our efforts to help primates in the wild and in captivity. Fill in your email address below.

Your Email

Our Privacy Policy