‘Dead monkeys in body bags’: Animals abused and mistreated at wildlife park, ex-employees claim

Former employees of a Miami wildlife attraction say the park abuses and mistreats monkeys and that unexplained animal deaths are common there.

The Miami Herald reports that more than a half-dozen former park workers say the attraction Monkey Jungle fails to adequately care for monkeys. Some ex-employees claim the park has tried it secretive that the animals that have died there, going so far as keeping “dead monkeys in body bags” inside a freezer, the newspaper reports.

One person said she came across dead monkeys on the ground three times in a matter of months.

Many former employees said they had never seen a veterinarian at the park and didn’t think its managers had licenses to medically treat sick or wounded animals.

Owners of the park say the allegations are false and that they rely on “consulting veterinarians” to care for the primates. Owners also say that they adequately monitor the animals. Federal inspection reports show no violations at the south Florida facility.

Yet, the former employees allege animals would go into the park’s clinic and never come out. Two ex-staff members cited a sloth they said was treated for a hysterectomy and later died. The park’s manager, who is not a trained veterinarian, performed the procedure.

A former ape trainer claims that a sick monkey was given a handful of drugs and little food before dying. A former dietician at the park said managers ignored a gibbon that became sick and then died following a seizure.

Employees would have nervous breakdowns from what they witnessed at the park, one person said, recalling a time she saw monkeys “kill each other from being cramped into cages.”

Some monkeys also reportedly had gashes on their hands, including one that had a bone protruding out from an injury.

Others allege that the park withholds food from animals if they don’t cooperate. Michelle Diaz, a former monkey trainer, said managers told her she had to stop feeding an ape because he didn’t perform his regular tricks.

“I started crying,” Diaz told the Herald. “I said I couldn’t do it. [Management] said, ‘You don’t understand, these are animals, they have to be disciplined and obey everything. You are being too soft and too nice.’”

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