Primate Rescue Center

Exotic Monkey Seized from Illinois Home

Erika Fleury October 06, 2015

Authorities seized an exotic monkey from a Cumberland County home this week after receiving multiple tips that a resident was selling it.

Image courtesy Effingham Daily News

Captain Jim Mayes of the Illinois Conservation Police said that officers found a crab-eating macaque at a home in southern Cumberland County on Monday. Crab-eating macaques are native to Asian islands. "It's not something you hear about every day," Mayes said. "This is not an everyday occurrence or an every month occurrence. It was kind of random, actually."

The Illinois Dangerous Animals Act makes it illegal for residents to possess the type of monkey found Monday. Mayes said an investigation is ongoing and that charges may be filed against people involved with the exotic monkey.

The monkey's owner turned the primate over to two conservation police officers without an issue, and the animal seemed unharmed, Mayes said. Mayes said that a crab-eating macaque can be a threat to humans because it can carry the Herpes B virus.

Officials on Tuesday drove the monkey to the St. Louis Zoo, where it will stay until a permanent home is found for it. The zoo will conduct tests to check the monkey's health, Mayes said. Mayes said that it was unclear whether the monkey's owner was aware that possessing a crab-eating macaque is illegal in Illinois. State laws vary. In Indiana, for example, private citizens can get a permit to own the species.

Mayes warns residents to look up Illinois' laws before getting an exotic animal. "Each state in the U.S. has its own guidelines and laws regarding species such as this," he said in a press release. "We urge the public to look into state laws before purchasing, transporting or even acquiring exotic species."

- The Effingham Daily News

This monkey, now named Jax, will spend the rest of his life at the Primate Rescue Center. Click here to donate towards his care.

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