00:14 COMM: Did you ever wish your child would never
00:18 CHARLENE: It was like having a newborn baby
he was so tiny and looked human-like.
00:24 COMM: Imagine looking after a toddler for
the next forty years.
00:28 LISA: She's my kid for the rest of my life
00:31 COMM: For some families, this is a reality.
Their very own forever baby. A monkey baby.
00:38 AUDREY: I’m a monkey mom that’s my identity.
00:41 KID: He's like a human baby that doesn’t
00:43 COMM: But the dream can turn into a nightmare.
00:47 VET: I don’t feel they make good pets.
00:53 SEAN: The safety of the family is my top priority
00:53 EX MONKEY MOM: She would bite me to the point
that she would draw blood, I would lose skin.
00:58 KARI: They are wild animals and they bite.
01:09 COMM: There are around 15,000 primates owned
in America. And many are more than just pets. They’re “Monkids”.
01:17 LISA: no she's not my pet, she's my companion
01:20 COMM: Adopting monkeys as surrogate babies
is a growing phenomenon in the USA. The monkid community are devoted to these non-human primates
and see them as part of the family.
01:30 AUDREY: They’re my daughters, my adopted
daughters. Just a love that you can’t explain.’ JUSTINE: my goodness me! hello!
01:41 COMM: But many believe the monkid trend is
out of control and are concerned about cruelty to the monkey and danger to the humans.
01:50 KARI: The surrogate child pet monkey phenomenon
is not new, its just had a resurgence and it is getting so out of proportion its really
02:01 COMM: This family has discovered just how
dangerous monkeys can be.
02:07 COMM: In the town of Norfolk in Virginia,
thirty one year old Sean lives with his pregnant wife Sherry and daughters Jaelyn aged six
and Brianna aged four.
02:17 SEAN: Reason for wanting a monkey stared when
I was a little kid… my father always had animals he grew up in Africa and he was always
around wild animals that’s where my fascination began
02:31 COMM: Seans family couldn’t afford a monkey
baby, which can cost $5,000 or more so they bought an adult male capuchin for $500 a few
months ago. But it’s only now that they are really starting to pay.
02:45 COMM: Shalad is an 8 yr old capuchin monkey
who has had four previous owners. He’s a biter and a challenge for Sean
02:54 SEAN: The ad we responded to said ‘Breeder
monkey’ not good for a good pet well I’m a stubborn guy and figured we could change
him. Nothing is mean forever. Dangerous animals have always fascinated me because there’s
always the risk. After a week I went into the cage and physically grabbed him out and
I was covered in blood because he kept chewing on me and scratching me it was painful…he
would totally rip me apart.’
03:46 COMM: Sean’s kids were excited when their
Dad first brought home a monkey.
03:50 KID: I was so happy when we got him because
he was so cute when he was in his play room
03:58 COMM: But Shalad wasn’t the cuddly plaything
they had hoped for.
04:02 SEAN: Remember when he used to bite me? and
scratch me? and how you guys were scared to go near him?
SHERRY: and you guys called him ‘crazy shalad’? SEAN: and he would be in the cage and he would
scream at you? KID: he’d been biting and scratching him
and I was scared. Dad was trying to talk to mom and he attacked dad.
04:26 COMM: Part of civilizing Shalad is keeping
him in diapers.
04:29 SEAN: come on, lets get your diaper changes.
04:46 COMM: Monkid parents use diaper for their
own convenience but that can mean owners have to change them for forty years.
04:54 COMM: To try and calm Shalad down he has had
what the monkid community call “alterations”. Shalad had already had his adult canine teeth
pulled out by previous owners.
05:07 SEAN: we did neuter him a few weeks ago and
it calmed him down dramatically.
05:15 COMM: Altering a monkey by having it neutered
and removing it’s teeth may give the owner an easier life but it’s not natural for
05:23 KARI: they’re trying to change what they
are into something else to make them into this little human, they aren’t little humans
they are wild animals and they bite
05:34 COMM: What Sean didn’t realise was that
this new family member would start choosing sides in his human family.
05:44 SEAN: With me and sherry, err, its, her gets
very aggressive when we’re both in the same room, if he’s in the cage and she gets close
to me he shakes the cage.
05:56 COMM: Shalad is becoming increasingly protective
of pregnant Sherri and increasingly hostile towards Sean.
05:05 COMM: Situations like Sean’s, where the
monkey is a danger to the family, are increasingly COMM:on. Twenty states have banned private
primate ownership, and the federal government has proposed legislation to control the practice
across the U.S.
06:20 SEAN: I’m against legislation that is making
it tougher for people to own them and enjoy what I’m enjoying right now.
06:27 COMM: Even with the bans and threat of restrictions
monkey adoptions continue. But that also means people are dumping them when they hit puberty
and start to bite.
06:38 VET: they lose temper very quickly and their
first response is to bite.’
06:42 MONKEY TRAINER: Do monkeys bite all monkeys
bite but can you control it yes of course you can, with the right taming and training
you can have a monkey as a companion
06:56 COMM: Being a Monkey Mom is a risky business.
But the dangers aren’t necessarily the top concern – many monkey moms just fall in
love with monkeys when they’re babies.
07:07 CHARLENE: It was like having a newborn baby…so
tiny, so human-like.
07:15 AUDREY: people get a monkey cos theyre cute,
they make a nice show n tell and it provides for the empty nest syndrome.
07:26 CC: I really don’t think there is much difference
between a monkey and a human baby. You got the baby food, the diapers, the its like I
have two infants for 30 years never a dull moment.
07:43 COMM: Primatologist Katherine C Mackinnon
has been studying capuchins in the wild for the last seventeen years. She has observed
first hand in the jungles of Costa Rica just how different their lives are away from concrete
07:57 PRIMATOLOGIST: Capuchins are found in Central
and South America and generally they live in complex social groups with lots of different
individuals different ages, both sexes…Capuchins are very active primates and they spend a
large part of their day actively foraging and looking for food. So a Capuchin that’s
housed in a living room or even a relatively large outdoor enclosure is not natural.
08:24 COMM: Animal dealers began to import monkeys
to North America by the early 1900’s. Capuchins were originally used by organ grinders to
entertain the public.
08:36 COMM: Importing monkeys for use as pets was
banned in North America in 1975.
08:43 COMM: Today, most pet capuchins are bred in
captivity in North America. ‘Backyard’ breeding of exotic animals as pets is a multi-million
dollar business nowadays. And for monkeys, it’s a highly unnatural process.
08:57 PRIMATOLOGIST: When you have females that
are used as breeding monkeys that is they are sped up in terms of reproductive timeline
its very unnatural and can have some serious consequences not only for infant that’s
taken but for that mother as well.
09:11 COMM: The breeders take the babies within
a few days.
09:15 KARI: they steal them from as early as three
days old, capuchin monkeys will live on their mothers back and nurse for up to 2 years.
09:23 PRIMATOLOGIST: One of hallmarks of being a
primate is a strong mother infant bond so for example if a monkey is pulled from its
mother at 3 days of age , you get the classic rocking tail sucking hair pulling biting these
repetitive behaviours infants do not do in wild groups.
09:45 COMM: Breeders say that the earlier they pull
babies from their biological moms, the better they bond with their human ‘moms’
09:59 COMM: Justine is British but now lives in
America. She has decided she wants to be a Monkey mom.
10:06 JUSTINE: One of the reasons why I chose George
I know the breeder has him that’s readily available he’s already quote pulled from
his mother so knowing that doesn’t make me feel quite as bad. I certainly wouldn’t
have an adult monkey all the breeders I’ve spoken to said do not go there …that’s
why we’ve done a baby so hopefully I have a clean sheet to build a relationship with.
10:32 COMM: She’s travelled to Virginia to buy
a baby monkey she found on the internet.
10:37 JUSTINE: It’s a major commitment you know
they live for 35 to 40 years, I’m ready to do it, been married for 20 so I’ve done
ok so I figured a monkey will be OK. Because they are so child like and so human like my
hopes are he will be educational for the family I’m excited to see what my four year olds
response will be.
11:06 COMM: Justine is about to meet her newborn
baby boy for the first time.
11:14 JUSTINE: Gayle nice to meet you
GAYLE: hows flight? JUSTINE: good tired good
GAYLE: Do you have any questions before I bring him out?
JUSTINE: umm…no. I don’t, I don’t think I do. I’m just excited to see him, i think
the questions will come when I see him I think. GAYLE: well put your bag down and I’ll go
get him. Just give me a second. JUSTINE: ok.
11:50 GAYLE: This is your momma! What do you think?
JUSTINE: my goodness me hello he’s beautiful JUSTINE: George. Hello little man.
GAYLE: oh hes already making faces JUSTINE: he’s smiling and raising his eyebrows
and all sorts.
12:19 COMM: Monkeys have a range of facial expressions
that are often misread by humans. What can be perceived as a smile is actually an expression
of defence or attack.
12:31 PRIMATOLOGIST: There is often a misunderstanding
of some of the social signals that the animals use err for instance a fear grimace or a face
threat is sometimes looked at and interpreted by humans as a grin or laugh.
12:44 GAYLE: are you smiling? Are you smiling at
me? you are
12:47 COMM: Justine has a request.
12:50 JUSTINE: could I have a look at his mom and
dad? GAYLE: This is his mom his dad is on the left
it would not be right to bring the baby here, she knows it’s him would not want to hurt
her feelings its teasing JUSTINE: Do you not feel; a bit guilty taking
babies away from the mom? GAYLE: no, not at all. they know that within
the first 30 days I’m gonna take that baby and by that time they’re kinda over it anyway
there’s two moms over there that have been with me for nineteen years. When they see
me with the net…and they’re history.
13:40 COMM: It’s time for some monkey business.
13:43 GAYLE: his price is 55
13:46 COMM: Baby George cost 5500 dollars. Most
young babies would sell for between $5 and $8,000.
13:56 JUSTINE: thank you maam. This must be tough
for you. GAYLE: Somewhat, but I got another one back
there about to come off the mom, and 8 over there that are pregnant.
JUSTINE: I’ll call you when I get back. thank you’
14:21 PRIMATOLOGIST: To take an infant from mother
at such a young age really alters the developmental trajectory the animal is on and changes it
forever with some unforeseen consequences when they are adults in terms of aberrant
14:37 COMM: Once the monkey baby has been adopted
by its human surrogate mom, the real humanisation process begins.
14:53 COMM: Primate trainer Lisa has been showing
Monkey Moms how to look after and tame their monkids for the last 16 years. A legend in
the Monkid world, forty five year old Lisa is often called the monkey whisperer.
15:08 COMM: Lisa has her own monkid Mugwhy who is
sixteen years old and travels with Mum everywhere.
15:14 WOMAN: Is that your pet?
LISA: is this my pet? No its not my pet, its my companion for life
15:24 COMM: New monkey mom Justine is meeting Lisa,
before she takes baby George, home for an introduction on how to be a monkey mom.
15:33 JUSTINE: I bought a black capped capuchin
male monkey. His name is George. LISA: George?! Really?
JUSTINE: Curious George. LISA: the relationship that we are going to
have with him in the future and I always like to say family because everybody that’s with
me is my family. We’re monkey people, we’re crazy people and you just entered into our
world. LISA: people have to consider if you cant
take 100% and commit yourself for forty years…I mean I’m in it for the long haul
16:10 COMM: Bringing up a Monkid is expensive. If
George lives to the age of forty, he is likely to cost Justine $70,000 or more.
16:22 LISA: You can do anything to him. You can
hang him from his tail, anything, I mean this is what, the mothers do this all the time.
You know. You have to remember that he's a wild monkey this is basically, he peed, this
16:40 COMM: Baby George has wet the bed.
16:44 LISA: he needs to get used to diapers. His
butt has to callous. And don’t be afraid, he’s not going nowhere. Ok, this is very
natural we’re not being cruel you know, the mother is jumping form branches to branches.
Makes you nervous? JUSTINE: it doesn’t make me nervous I just
find it quite shocking. You know, to see it. Taming him is 100% serious things can happen
17:16 COMM: Justine has a lot to think about as
she takes George home to his new life. In a few years from now George will hit puberty
and that’s when the real problems can start.
17:32 COMM: This family is experiencing first hand
what it’s like to be around adolescent monkids.
17:46 COMM: Its mid morning in Oregon, Ohio. Thirty
six year old mom Charlene is changing her two year old Grivet monkey Michaels diaper.
17:56 COMM: She has had Michael since he was just
a few days old.
18:01 CHARLENE: I fell in love with him he was so
tiny so small looked human like I was like ‘I don’t care how much he costs!’ I
just knew right away that he would be with me.
18:31 COMM: Today, Charlene’s family are going
to see her best friend fellow Monkey Mom CC who owns a pet shop.
18:41 COMM: Forty two year old divorcee CC is Mom
to Grivet monkeys Ronnie who is four years old and Daisy who’s three.
18:50 COMM: Ronnie is just entering adolescence
which is making him rather feisty.
18:54 CC: Ronnie and Michael are brothers, they’re
19:01 COMM: Michael will also be approaching adolescence
19:06 CHARLENE: I do worry about his behaviour changing
when puberty hits. I know that he’s going to become more aggressive and he’s going
to become more dominant.
19:20 COMM: While Michael’s puberty is still a
couple of years away, his brother Ronnie’s behavior is becoming more and more threatening.
19: 28 COMM: The Monkey Moms are taking their monkids
and human kids out to a Mexican restaurant.
19:40 COMM: CC’s adolescent Ronnie is acting up
today. Charlene’s son Jason is the first to get chomped on.
19:45 CC: Settle! Settle! What d’ya do to him?!
Ronnies a little feisty as you can tell he loves to play, play, play, play.
19:59 CHARLENE: He nipped at my son he didn’t
leave a mark or anything like that but it’s kinda like a dog when they growl at you, theyre
giving you a warning of don’t cross this line or else there’s gonna be more consequences’
20:17 COMM: Then CC’s other monkey Daisy surprise
attacks Charlene’s daughter Jenny
20:30 COMM: Monkey Dad Chuck is aware that Michael
may go the same way too.
20:34 CHUCK: Michael has nipped at me, nothing major
yet, I’m assuming some day he will but it’s a responsibility I’ve had to accept that
its gonna happen.
20:43 COMM: It’s time for the monkids to go home
before they do any further damage.
20:52 COMM: Despite the monkeys behaviour Charlene’s
human kids indulge their mothers’ devotion to their unusual sibling Michael and his brother
Ronnie and Daisy.
21:02 JASON: He’s just like my moms baby
MERIDIAN: He’s like a replacement for a human baby You’ll play with him and change
his diapers, he smells… CARLA: He's like a human baby that never grows
21:21 COMM: But like many brothers and sisters there
is a certain amount of sibling rivalry.
21:26 JASON: we were at the restaurant I held him,
he bit me and tried to get away… it hurt..
21:33 JENNY: daisy was upset yesterday cause her
mom wasn’t paying her any attention, she gets vicious
21:45 JASON: was shocked that he did it.
JENNY: I was terrified, I didn’t see it coming.
21:51 COMM: When monkeys attack in the family it
can have serious consequences. But the monkey is only doing what comes naturally in the
22:02 COMM: Monkey trainers claim they can tame
your monkey if it starts to attack in the home.
22:10 COMM: Primate Trainer and Monkey Mom Lisa
lives in Las Vegas but spends a lot of time traveling for her work.
22:17 LISA: For years and years and years I’ve
been working with monkeys, I don’t know what happened it’s just that I have a very
great connection with monkeys. I’m not a real big people person. I do it for the monkeys.
22:39 COMM: Back in Norfolk. Virginia, Sean has
decided he needs help with Shalad. Lisa is on her way.
22:51 LISA: Sean has always wanted a monkey just
like other people, they think it’s the coolest thing ever. But the biggest thing is, he didn’t
but a baby, he bought an older monkey, he didn’t know nothing about him and he can’t
touch it. If you don’t establish alpha the monkeys gonna run over you like crazy. Sean,
he’s not the alpha, he’s far from it. He’s not the alpha yet.
23:15 COMM: Techniques used by monkey trainers to
establish alpha status are controversial.
23:21 KARI: One of the misconceptions people have
is that you can train a wild animal. You don’t train a wild animals. If you talk to any trainers
they’ll tell you, well they might tell you how they train animals but it’s domination.
They dominate the animal. And I’ve talked to trainers who say all you need punch them
right square in the face, they won’t bite you again. Or throw them up against the wall
and they won’t bite.
23:45 LISA: To stop a monkey from coming at you,
well I mean how do you stop a dog from coming at you? You’ve got to do whatever it takes
in your physical being to get away from it but there are proper techniques that you use
in doing a monkey. how to train a monkey how you look at him you’re physical the contact.
In a dog you know they say that you’re not supposed to have direct contact In a monkey
you absolutely have to otherwise it goes through one ear and out of the other. These guys can
do some really serious damage.
24:35 LISA: Hey monkey boy!
SEAN: can I hug you? Nice to finally meet you.
SHERRY: That’s Jaelyn, that’s Brianna nice to finally meet you.
SEAN: And this is Shalad! LISA: Oh Shalady Baby!
25:18 COMM: It seems the monkey whisperer has already
begun to work her magic.
25:23 SEAN: This is actually crazy seeing him react
to her like this, to Lisa is just mind boggling because he never does that with anyone else.
That’s wild. LISA: I really like this cage
SEAN: hopefully as we are training we wont need to keep him in a little cage
25:50 COMM: It’s time for the Taming of Shalad.
25:56 COMM: But first they need to catch him
25:59 LISA: stay. Come on. Come in a close the door.
Hi honey. No, just don’t even do that. Just let him clam down. Shalad.
SEAN: come here baby. come here. LISA: alright, ok. Hold on.
26:21 COMM: According to Lisa, Sean needs to get
used to handling Shalad and establishing himself as the alpha
26:43 LISA: he’s a 2 year old for the rest of
your life. When is your monkey going to be lying in your lap and watching TV? When your
monkey is tamed.
26:59 COMM: Lisa’s monkid Mugwhy has taken up
residence in Shalads cage while Lisa puts him through his paces.
27:12 COMM: Lisa believes Sean needs to become the
alpha over Shalad in order to receive his affections.
27:20 He is anxious to go over and see you. So take
the lead Sherry, no don’t even look at Shalad. Don’t even look at him. No! come here, up.
No. Ok, did you see out of the corner of your eye what he's doing to you? What he's doing
to you is he's creeping up, he's taunting you now look right at him and go…
SEAN: No! Shalad, No! shalad no! LISA: Take the lead, take the lead, walk away
Sherry, walk away LISA: he has no fear. He has this huge connection
with Sherri while we are training Shalad sean is only person on lead.
28:49 COMM: Lisa has worked Shalad hard today, it’s
time for the session to end.
28:52 LISA: Are you guys comfortable? You’re scared
to death aren’t you? Look at her! When this baby comes you’ll have to keep him away.
29:12 COMM: If the training works, Sean hopes that
Shalad will become a trusted member of his ever growing family. Sean is not a typical
monkey parent. Most monkey moms are women who want to continue being moms even after
their own human children are grown up.
29:34 COMM: It’s 97 degrees on a summer morning
in the suburb of Winter Garden, Florida, sixty six year old Mom and homemaker Audrey is trying
to coax her babies Cleo and Lacey out of their air conditioned cage.
29:47 AUDREY: I want you to come!
29:50 COMM: Four year old Lacey is momma’s girl.
She hates to be left alone. Three year old Cleo is the baby of the family and full of
30:01 AUDREY: come here, Lacey will come.
30:03 COMM: The sisters are both used to be being
spoilt and getting their own way.
30:11 AUDREY: I don’t wanna play on that one,
I wanna play on this one. Come on. Where did she go Lacey? Where did Cleo go?
AUDREY: I’m a monkey mom. That’s my identity. I don’t have an identity I’m just a monkey
mom. They’re not animals to me. They’re like little hairy people. I got you! She’s
being a good girl.
30:42 COMM: Audrey’s human family consists of
two gown up sons, on of whom, Scott, still lives at home. Audrey adopted her first Monkid
Lacey four years ago followed by Cleo a year later. Her husband passed away last year so
now Audrey is the head of the interspecies household.
31:03 AUDREY: I’m fixing breakfast, I’m fixing
eggs. I love my girls, they have added so much to my life. I can’t imagine life without
them. It’s just odd. She’s hungry, I know, you were hungry, you
were crying. It’s tremendous, the bonding, you can see, I mean, I’m their mother.
31:32 COMM: Captive monkey babies tend to have their
own surrogate mum or stuffed animal.
31:38 AUDREY: She brought this home when I brought
her home when she was 2 weeks old and she wont part with it. It’s a simulation of
the birth mother, something for them to hold, a security, because even though she clung
to me for a year they still need something when you’re not there so this is hers.
31:06 KARI: the first thing you notice is they are
stolen from their mothers and put on a surrogate, a stuffed animal or towel, some inanimate
object. They are supposed to be on their mothers back and they are running through the forest.
They are now stuck on an inanimate object so they are rocking, rocking, rocking, rocking
themselves into an oblivion and its just horrible to see that. That’s a terrible sign.
32:31 COMM: Audrey, her son Scott and monkids pay
a visit to her friend Julie for Lunch.
32:42 AUDREY: Lacey sweetheart… They love everything,
everything we eat they eat, but it’s a hard choice as everything is full of carbs n sugar.
Their favourite foods are nuts,corn on cob, bacon, spaghetti, any pasta cooked or uncooked
they love it. Just one OK three? Anything sweet, greasy or salty. No sandwich for you
huh? Just junk food. You’re not supposed to be having junk food.’
33:19 COMM: A captive monkeys diet should consist
of about 70% monkey chow which is a mix of natural products found in the forest as well
as around 30 % fruit and vegetables.
33:39 COMM: What Audrey doesn’t realise is that
she could be killing her monkids with love and tortilla chips.
33:37 PRIMATOLOGIST: in captivity many people don’t
know what capuchins eat in wild its not that they mean bad things to happen to their animal
but we do have this epidemic of obesity diabetes heart problems high blood pressure all sorts
of hormonal inbalances in some of these older primates.
33:55 COMM: Audrey has been spoiling her monkids.
But, as with a human child, it’s hard to say no when they want to share from her plate.
34:05 COMM: Audrey is taking Cleo and Lacey to see
Dr Parrott an exotic vet for a check-up. Many vets will not handle primates due to their
unpredictable behaviour and their tendency to carry and transmit diseases. Although the
monkeys are more likely to catch something from humans as their immune systems are very
34:25 DR. PARROTT: hey how are ya?
AUDREY: well, how are you?
34:31 COMM: Dr Parrott needs to listen to Cleo’s
heartbeat but Cleo gets alarmed
34:37 AUDREY: she doesn’t like new toys.
DR. PARROTT: She’s a ditzy blonde AUDREY: yep, she’s blonde.
DR. PARROTT: Alright, all done all done. DR. PARROTT: As a pet owner who has had multiple
species of primates I don’t feel they make good pets for most people.
AUDREY: they’re worse than children DR. PARROTT: they’re 24/7 and they’re
an ADHD kid all the time.
35:18 COMM: At Lacey’s last visit her blood sugar
was elevated – so Dr. Parrot needs to run another test to see if it has improved or
become worse so that she can make her diagnosis.
35:58 DR PARROT: just hang for a moment ok? She
did good. AUDREY: all done. I know, not fun, that was
not fun, don’t like that. AUDREY: I think it’s as hard for me as it
is for her cos I get really stressed out too. Its like your own child if they hurt you hurt.
Cant help it. It’s just the love that you can’t explain. Their love is unconditional;
they love me no matter what I do to them or with them or without them you know, because
I’m all they have.
36:58 COMM: The vet has news for Audrey.
37:01 DR PARROT: OK. Glucose fasting is 161 which
is high. Her Vertosemene which is long term glucose control should be 100 or less. its
400 we’re not controlling her sugars
37:15 COMM: It’s bad news - Lacey has Diabetes
a condition where her blood sugar levels are too high… Dr Parrott gives her long term
37:26 DR PAROTT: lets try the next 3 or 4 weeks
we’ll talk and try and and regulate it. It’s either that or you’re gonna lose
your monkey eventually cos its gonna kill her, the diabetes will kill her.
AUDREY: tonight they’re gonna have carbs cos were having spaghetti
DR PAROTT: ok…wholegrain spaghetti? AUDREY: regular white tonight but I usually
do wholegrain with spinach.
37:53 COMM: Audrey has a stark decision to make.
Stop feeding her monkeys the wrong foods or she will kill them.
37:59 DR PAROTT: I would not give her pasta tonight,
I really would not, fill her up with anything you want but not pasta.
AUDREY: I can give her salad DR PAROTT :There we go.
38:15 COMM: That evening at dinner…
38:20 AUDREY: Cleo, Lacey that’s a spaghetti girl,
you want dressing. You’d rather have the dressing and not the salad
AUDREY: No more pasta for you. You’ve had enough/ How bout some salad? It has dressing,
here. You’ve had enough of those too. No!
39:38 COMM: Sanctuary founder, Kari Bagnall runs
Jungle Friends a large primate sanctuary in Florida. Kari knows first hand the damage
a human diet has on monkeys.
39:51 KARI: We have a lot of diabetic monkeys, in
the wild of course they don’t get diabetes but unfortunately humans, and it’s on the
rise in humans as well but they feed their monkeys junk
40:05 KARI: They usually come in pretty bad shape,
we’ve had them come in almost dead so it’s really a tough thing to try to keep them alive
40:15 COMM: They currently have nearly 120 monkeys
and have a waiting list for many more. But they are full.
40:34 KARI: 70% of them are ex pets so the big problem
we have right now are the ex-pet problem.
40:42 COMM: Monkey parents tend to dump their monkids
when they start biting.
40:47 KARI: I have never had so many calls as I
get right now for monkeys needing homes. Once they bite the kids, or tear up the house or
escape into the neighbours yard and tear up the neighbour they just want the monkeys gone.
This is George and George lives with Jill, neither one of them have any teeth. All their
teeth have been removed they probably bit the wrong person.
41:10 COMM: The monkid community uses alterations
to make the monkeys less dangerous.
41:15 LISA: I recommend that people alter the monkeys
if they are going to have them in a family setting. Please alter your monkeys. When you
have small children would you rather have a ripping tearing bite or would you rather
have a bruise? It’s up to you.
41:34 COMM: Many vets refuse to remove healthy teeth
from an animal, so the monkid community have to find certain vets who will perform the
41:42 PRIMATOLOGIST: For wild primates if you keep
them as pets there are several things that are done to mitigate some behavioural problems
that in the wild are completely normal. Their canine teeth are pulled, they are often castrated
and fixed like we do out domesticated dogs and cats
42:00 COMM: Although removing a monkey’s adult
canines lessens the damage they can do, they can still be aggressive and bite, leaving
42:11 COMM: Michelle and Gregory know all to well
what damage they can do. When they adopted their 11 day old capuchin monkey, Macy – they
thought she was perfect, but she changed.
42:20 MICHELLE: by the time Macy turned 3 yrs old
she was smart enough and strong enough that if she did not want to be caught, I could
not physically catch her, she started lashing out at me to the point that she would bite
me, she would draw blood, she would pull my hair and she would not let up until she chose
to do so.
42:45 GREGORY: It got to the point where we couldn’t
show affection in front of Macy ‘cause that would cause her to be very jealous especially
if she was locked up in her room she could see us and that would get her really aggravated
43:00 MICHELLE: While one minute Macy could be very
affectionate and loving on me the next second she would bite me to the point that she would
draw blood, I would lose skin or she would lock onto a batch of my hair and not let go,
and again with a monkey you’re not stronger than them and you’re certainly not faster
than them. I was one of the fortunate ones, I never landed in the hospital, but there
are so many other humans that ended up in the hospital with severe injuries from their
43:37 GREGORY: Now that I come back and I see Macy
and she gets to be a monkey, and roll around and run around I get goosebumps just talking
about it, it was so rewarding.
43:47 COMM: The cost of keeping a monkey at Jungle
Friends is $150 per month. The ex-monkid parents are asked for a minimum of $100 dollar a month
contribution towards upkeep if they can afford it, otherwise the sanctuary relies on donations.
COMM: Some monkid parents are willing to live with the risk that their primate will attack.
Today Charlene and her family are going on a BBQ to Lake Erie with monkid Michaels’
brother, Ronnie and Daisy with mom CC.
44:28 KATHERINE: When it becomes a juvenile it’s
no longer going to be the needy, clingy and adorable, and they are adorable, baby monkey.
So often what you find around that time, they might bite someone’
44:39 COMM: Last time the monkid families all went
out, Charlene’s kids were attacked by Daisy and Ronnie. This time the children are trying
to keep their distance. But monkeys are faster than humans.
45:09 CC: I’m going to put him in time out, he
needs a nap.
45:14 CC: There’s always a chance an animal can
attack you or bite you, even the nicest dog in the world if you irritate them enough,
they could bite you, I’m not gonna get rid of em just because they have a behaviour problem
I’m gonna work through it
45:32 CC: Ronnie has hit his sexual maturity. Daisy,
she is getting aggressive with other people so I don’t let anybody touch her or hold
her. Other people may look at them like they’re wild, they’re mean or whatever but I don’t
look at ‘em that way. Keeping people away isn’t a big deal for me cos Id rather have
them just to myself anyways. I’m happy just to be with my monkeys.
45:55 COMM: For Charlene and CC their forever babies
will forever be a risk.
45:03 COMM: Back in Florida, Audrey prays for her
monkid Lacey’s health.
45:08 AUDREY: Dear heavenly father, we were told
that Lacey has diabetes and we know that diabetes can kill. I We want her to be with us for
a long time and we know that only you can make that happen. Amen. I spoil my girls as
much as I can. Because I know that I want them to have everything that can make them
happy. I’ll spoil her in other ways but not with her food. Because her food now, as
a diabetic, is critical. If I don’t perform as a good monkey mom she can ultimately die
in a very short time and I don’t want that to happen.
47:00 COMM: For Audrey, old habits die hard. She
must show her monkids the right kind of love or run the risk of losing her forever babies.
47:14 COMM: Back in Virginia, Sean has been working
with Shalad, but progress is gradual.
47:31 SEAN: The safety of my family is my top priority.
Uh right now every time we change him the girls go into the bedroom, we close the door.
When he comes out of the cage the girls go into the other room. God forbid he did anything
to anybody it would really set us back in our training it would just make me not trust
47:53 COMM: For Sean the wellbeing of his family
depends on whether he can persevere with Shalad’s training, but the future is uncertain.
48:01 COMM: The monkid community are aware that
due to the controversial nature of keeping monkeys in the home, their lifestyle is under
48:11 AUDREY: The laws are changing, some states
have banned it altogether, the laws are tightening every day on primates.
48:23 COMM: But many remain defiant in the face
of possible restriction
48:27 AUDREY: we live in a free country and it should
be our choice and not for somebody else to make that choice for us.’
48:33 CHARLENE: too many people trying to take our
rights and I think we should always have that right to own one or not to own one.
48:42 COMM: Those that sit on the other side believe
monkeys shouldn’t be bred in captivity for use as pets.
48:47 KARI: They go mad living in captivity …it
needs to be federally that you cannot have a wild pet animal…It’s wrong wrong wrong
wrong for the monkeys wrong for the humans wrong in every sense of the word.
49:02 COMM: Some monkey moms would be willing to
go to extreme lengths to hold onto their monkids if legislation attempts to regulate them.
49:10 CC: I would move so I could keep them because
I couldn’t be without them. We’d go monkey undercover.
49:22 AUDREY: in the monkey chat room we talk about
buying an island and everyone who wants to come and live on the island with their monkeys.
49:39 COMM: The monkey mom community is devoted
to their monkids But monkids are not children. They are monkeys. And although humans and
monkeys are all primates, their natural habitat is worlds away from ours.