The last of the monkeys that escaped after a truck crash on a Pennsylvania highway has been accounted for, authorities say.
Several monkeys escaped following Friday’s collision between a ute and a truck towing a trailer carrying 100 monkeys, Pennsylvania State Police said.
But only one remained unaccounted for as of Saturday morning, prompting the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies to launch a search for it amid frigid weather.
Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an email on Saturday evening that all 100 of the cynomolgus macaque monkeys had since been accounted for.
Three were dead after being euthanised.
The email did not elaborate on why the three were euthanised or how all came to be accounted for.
But Nordlund said those euthanised were done so humanely according to American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines.
The shipment of monkeys was en route to a CDC-approved quarantine facility after arriving on Friday morning at New York’s Kennedy Airport from Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation, police said.
The location of the quarantine facility and the type of research for which the monkeys were apparently destined weren’t clear, but cynomolgus monkeys are often used in medical studies.
Earlier, police had urged people not to look for or capture any monkey, with troopers tweeting: “Anyone who sees or locates the monkey is asked not to approach, attempt to catch, or come in contact with the monkey. Please call 911 immediately.”
Trooper Lauren Lesher had said the concern was “due to it not being a domesticated animal and them being in an unknown territory. It is hard to say how they would react to a human approaching them.”
A crash witness, Michelle Fallon, told the Press Enterprise newspaper of Bloomsburg that she was behind the ute when it was hit on the passenger side by the dump truck, tearing off the front panel of the trailer and sending more than a dozen crates tumbling out.
She and another motorist who stopped to help were standing near the scene when the other driver said he thought he saw a cat run across the road, Fallon said.
Fallon peeked into a crate and saw a small monkey looking back at her.
“They’re monkeys,” she told the other motorist.