A new investigative report reveals that a veterinarian at the research center that reported a missing monkey earlier this month already believed the primate may be deceased, just five days into the search.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources report, released exclusively to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from PETA on Tuesday, states that a veterinarian at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station in Lawrenceville had speculated that the missing rhesus monkey had fallen into a crevice and died, or that a hawk had captured it.
The DNR report sheds light on the chronology of the incident. After identifying that the monkey was missing on June 15, Yerkes staff started an immediate search of its grounds and on June 17 filed an incident report to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, the oversight body for university animal testing.
Yerkes contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture three days later on June 20 and then the DNR on June 22. The last time Yerkes had conducted a full head count of the monkeys was May 26, when the group was being transported within the facility.
In response to federal investigations into the facility, Yerkes announced in its report to the DNR that it had instituted new policies to prevent future missing animals:
Requiring that during each animal move, all animals be accounted for at the completion of the move, as opposed to only at the time of relocation
Requiring a monthly census for the rhesus monkey compound
Exploring possibility of enhancing animal microchip capabilities to determine if animal tracking is possible
Yerkes could not be reached immediately for comment Tuesday.