A truck transporting 100 monkeys was involved in an accident with a dump truck Friday afternoon, allowing three monkeys to escape into Montour County, Pennsylvania.
The cynomolgus monkeys, worth $10,000 each, were being taken to a lab in Florida when the crash happened at about 3:20 p.m., 150 miles north of Philadelphia. No one was injured in the accident. Troopers and state wildlife officials responded as the search for the monkeys intensified into the evening hours and temperatures dropped below freezing.
As of Saturday morning, only one of the escaped monkeys was still unaccounted for. Pennsylvania State Troopers Andrea Pelachick and Lauren Lesher urged the public not to “attempt to look for or capture the animal,” and asked that anyone who locates the missing monkey “call 911 immediately.”
Cynomolgus monkeys are best known for being the first preclinical test animal for the development of the polio vaccine, according to the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. Since the COVID outbreak, cynomolgus monkeys have been in high demand as scientists use them to test coronavirus vaccines before clinical trials begin on humans. The shortage of these monkeys has a growing number of American scientists calling on the government to ensure a constant supply of the animals.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is currently still searching for the remaining monkey.