The exotic animal pet industry is rife with ethical problems. One of the more disturbing consequences of the pet trade is that infant monkeys are highly desirable and profitable to breeders and so are prematurely taken from their mother’s care and do not have time to mature naturally. Sad stories abound of primate pets that live long, solitary existences in deplorable conditions, such as previous PRC rescues like The Dahlonega Five and Petey the Spider Monkey.

Below is a story of yet another pet monkey… However, this pet was lucky enough to make his way to people that cared about his well-being and sought him out a better life.

Carlos, a long-tailed macaque, was purchased at a Texas pet auction when he was only one week old. His new owner asked a friend to watch him for a few days. That friend, named Lori, ended up watching Carlos for a much longer period of time than originally expected. When his owner finally asked for him back, Lori and her daughters couldn’t bear to give Carlos up. They knew that life as a pet wouldn’t be good for the infant monkey. “They’re like babies, they’re so sweet,” Lori described of the infant Carlos. She then continued, “but they grow up and they bite.”

Carlos’s owner agreed to relinquish ownership of him, and Lori and her family decided to find Carlos a more suitable home. When she contacted a local zoo and was referred to North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance – of which Primate Rescue Center (PRC) is a member – Carlos’s safe future was secured. Plans were quickly made to make room at the PRC for another ex-pet.

Lori and her family brought their little monkey to Kentucky in style. In a first for the PRC, this resident arrived by private jet! We wish all our residents had as peaceful a trip to the PRC as Carlos did! He apparently enjoyed staring out the window at the clouds as he snacked on crackers. Lori was happy to see Carlos off in his new home.

Carlos has adjusted well to life in Kentucky. At first, our elderly macaques Crunchy and Dewey have “adopted” Carlos, teaching him their wonderful macaque mannerisms and the three became quite an odd, but heartwarming, social group. Dewey, who is usually quite calm, even threatened people who come too close to his adopted son Carlos! After a bit, it was clear that rambunctious Carlos was a bit too rough for Crunchy especially, and he was eventually moved in with fellow long-tailed macaque Luke. The two have become affectionate brothers and pals, and are often seen hugging and grooming eachother.

We’re grateful that Lori and her family cared enough about Carlos and were considerate enough to find him a proper home. Although we can’t give him any more rides in private planes, we can give him privacy and species-appropriate food, stimulation, and social nurturing for his many years to come.

Support Carlos’s lifetime care through a symbolic adoption by becoming his Primate Pal!