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Yerkes Statements Regarding the Missing Monkey

Media Contacts

Lisa Newbern, 404-727-7709,

Yerkes National Primate Research Center
Emory University

August 16, 2011

Effective today, Stuart Zola, PhD, Director of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, has ended the search to locate Ep13. Despite extensive efforts by Yerkes staff, we have not been able to locate this research animal. Efforts included searching the Yerkes property numerous times, conducting multiple census counts of the research animals and working with Gwinnett County Animal Control to follow up on 26 reported “sightings” in the metro Atlanta area.

Dr. Zola has directed Yerkes staff to continue enhancing operations at the center to prevent any such future occurrences. These enhancements include using additional microchip technology that will facilitate more frequent and efficient tracking of the animals, and increasing the security and video surveillance at the center. The center will also pursue any recommendations regulatory authorities make.

For more than eight decades, the Yerkes Research Center has been dedicated to conducting essential basic science and translational research to advance science and to improve human health and well-being. All Yerkes researchers and staff at the center are as dedicated to the highest quality animal care as they are to scientific discovery. We will continue to build on our solid foundation of scientific advancements while offering the public the promise discoveries made at the Yerkes Research Center will improve the health of the greater Atlanta community, our nation and the world. 

July 28, 2011

Animal Care, Colony Management and Veterinary personnel at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station have completed the intensive process to individually re-account for the center's nearly 1,900 rhesus monkeys; all animals except Ep13 have been re-identified. In addition to this process, Veterinary personnel are again reviewing animal transfer records to ensure Ep13 was not sent to the Yerkes Main Center. We continue to work with Emory’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and other regulatory authorities to review our search efforts and refine our operating procedures while remaining focused on our research programs to advance science and improve health.

July 6, 2011

Animal Care, Colony Management and Veterinary personnel at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station have begun an intensive process to individually re-account for the center's nearly 1,900 monkeys by the unique alpha-numeric code tattooed on each animal's chest. We expect this next step in the search for our missing monkey, Ep13, to take several weeks. 

Our team is meeting regularly to discuss our search process, to review and refine our standard operating procedures, and to ensure our behavioral research and breeding program at the field station continue seamlessly.   

We are sincerely appreciative for the wonderfully supportive messages our neighbors have sent us and also appreciate the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce recognizing our contributions to the county. 

June 29, 2011

Personnel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources met with Yerkes National Primate Research staff today to discuss the missing monkey, the steps Yerkes staff have taken to locate it and the center's standard operating procedures. At the conclusion of the half-day visit, the USDA issued a brief report noting the results of the investigation are as yet inconclusive and that the incident is still under review. The Yerkes Research Center will continue to cooperate fully with the regulatory authorities while also continuing the search for the monkey and daily operations at the research center. 

June 24, 2011

During the last two days, there has been extensive media coverage about the missing monkey. We appreciate the media's help to notify the community, and we are grateful for all who have called with information. Unfortunately, we still have not located the animal, but we continue searching our property and following up on leads members of the community provide.  

Please remember to contact the Yerkes Research Center at 404-727-7732 or Gwinnett Animal Control at 770-339-3200 if you see a monkey. We do not believe this animal poses any threat to the community, but it is wild and should not be approached. We also want to reiterate this monkey was not part of any research in which it was infected with any disease.

We are working with Emory's Institutional and Animal Care Committee and other regulatory agencies to review our actions to locate the monkey and to determine our next steps.

Again, we express our appreciation to the media and the community for your interest and help. We will continue to provide information and encourage you to call us with any questions. 

June 22, 2011

During a routine, annual veterinary exam June 15 of all animals within one of the compounds at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station, personnel determined a 2-year-old, female rhesus monkey was not in its compound. This animal is one of many specially bred rhesus macaques at Yerkes that does not have the herpes B virus, something common to the species. This animal was in the process of being assigned to a behavioral research study, which is the focus of the research at the Yerkes Field Station. The animal was not part of a scientific study in which it would have been infected with any disease.   

Yerkes Animal Care, Colony Management, Facility Management and Veterinary personnel immediately began a search for the monkey that covered the animal¿s housing compound and surrounding areas, the clinical facility where staff performs the exams and a compound in which the monkey was previously housed, as well as the nearby areas. Yerkes personnel are continuing to search for the monkey.  

Center administrators have notified Emory's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, the National Center for Research Resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Gwinnett County Police.

Daily operations and research to advance science and improve health are ongoing at the Yerkes Research Center. If you see a monkey, please do not approach it. Call the Yerkes Research Center at 404-727-7732. We will work with Gwinnett County¿s animal control authorities to respond appropriately.

For more information on rhesus macaques:

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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