Primate Rescue Center

“Animal Sanctuary” Monkey Island is Sinking

April Truitt July 05, 2011

Todd the spider monkey is about to embark on a five-month island vacation in landlocked Greenwood, Missouri. It's June 9, more than a month later than Dana Savorelli, the owner of the nonprofit Monkey Island Rescue and Zoological Sanctuary, wanted to relocate Todd. The move to Monkey Island, the moat-surrounded land in what amounts to Savorelli's front yard, was pushed back by bad weather and because the island's other inhabitants, a flock of geese, were still sitting on their eggs.

But Savorelli says a bad business deal with a management company that he subcontracted to handle Midwest Tongs' bookkeeping, manu­facturing and shipping now threatens to end Midwest Tongs and Monkey Island. He won't go into detail, but he says his sanctuary might be closed before the end of the year.

Monkey Island is a nonprofit but it has accepted less than $1,000 in donations over its history, Savorelli says. Caring for more than 200 animals costs thousands of dollars a month. Just heating the concrete, bunkerlike building connected to the monkeys' cages costs him as much as $1,700 a month in the winter. The monkeys alone can consume 40 to 60 pounds of bananas in one feeding. "We just spent $1,800 yesterday on some food for them," Savorelli says.

A deal gone south isn't the only thing working against Savorelli. He owes more than $10,500 — and counting — in unpaid property taxes.

Read more at (Caution: Strong Language)

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