Esc-APE artist! Police warn public not to approach lab MONKEY that got away in Pennsylvania truck crash as they hunt it down and ‘shoot dead’ three other escapees

  • Pennsylvania residents have been warned not to engage a crab-eating macaque that escaped from a truck carrying 100 monkeys to a lab on Friday
  • ‘Anyone who locates the monkey is asked not to approach, attempt to catch, or come in contact with [it]. Please call 911 immediately,’ State Troopers tweeted
  • Three more monkeys that escaped after the truck transporting them was hit by a dump truck have since been captured – their condition in uncertain
  • Crates with live monkeys inside were strewn across State Route 54 in Danville, 130 miles from Philadelphia, after the crash 
  • A crash witness said he thought he saw a cat run across the road before making the shocking realization that it was actually a fleeing primate

They’re going bananas! 

Four monkeys escaped in Pennsylvania after a truck transporting 100 crab-eating macaques to a lab crashed on Friday – three of the four have been captured, but locals have been warned not to approach the dangerous holdout primate. 

State police urged people not to look for or capture the cynomolgus macaque monkey following the crash on a State Route 54 near an Interstate 80 exit in Danville, about 130 miles from Philadelphia.  

‘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,’ troopers tweeted. 

Trooper Lauren Lesher 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.’ 

One of the cynomolgus macaques, which are also known as crab-eating or long-tailed macaques, was found in a tree, and three shots were later heard, WNEP reported. The condition of all four monkeys is not yet known.     

Crates holding live monkeys are pictured scattered across the westbound lanes of state Route 54 on Friday at the junction with Interstate 80 near Danville, Pennsylvania

Crates holding live monkeys are collected next to the trailer they were being transported in along state Route 54 at the intersection with Interstate 80 near Danville, Pennsylvania on January 21  after a pickup pulling the trailer carrying the monkeys was hit by a dump truck

State police urged people not to look for or capture the crab-eating macaque monkey following the crash on a State Route 54 near an Interstate 80 exit in Danville, about 130 miles from Philadelphia

PETA reminded residents after the crash that ‘there is no way to ensure that monkeys are virus-free.’ The monkey pictured is not the monkey missing in Pennsylvania

Crates littered the road Friday as troopers searched for monkeys, rifles in hand. Valley Township firefighters used thermal imaging to try to locate the animals, and a helicopter also assisted, the Press Enterprise newspaper of Bloomsburg reported.  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency was providing ‘technical assistance’ to state police. The shipment of monkeys was en route to a CDC-approved quarantine facility after arriving Friday morning at New York’s Kennedy Airport from Mauritius, the agency said.

The truck had been on its way to a lab, Trooper Andrea Pelachick told The Daily Item newspaper of Sunbury.

One of the monkeys (pictured) was found in a tree, and three shots were later heard, WNEP reported. The condition of all four monkeys is not yet known

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies used a helicopter to search for it amid frigid weather 

Crates littered the road Friday as troopers searched for monkeys, rifles in hand. Valley Township firefighters used thermal imaging to try to locate the animals, and a helicopter also assisted 

The location of the lab and the type of research for which the monkeys were destined weren´t clear, but the cynomolgus monkeys are often used in medical studies. A 2015 paper posted on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information referred to them as the most widely used primate in preclinical toxicology studies.

Lesher said state police secured the scene for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although macaque monkeys are cute, PETA reminded residents after the crash that ‘there is no way to ensure that monkeys are virus-free,’ noting that ‘records show that monkeys in laboratories in the US have been found with tuberculosis, Chagas disease, cholera and MRSA.’   

The monkey isn’t just dangerous, it’s expensive – crab-eating macaques can cost up to $10,000, according to the New York Times.  

The monkeys, whose DNA is similar to humans’, have been in high demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with some scientists calling for an emergency reserve of the test subjects similar to the country’s stockpiles of oil and grain. 

A crash witness, Michelle Fallon, told the Press Enterprise newspaper of Bloomsburg that she spoke with the pickup driver and a passenger after the crash. The driver appeared to be disoriented, and the passenger thought he might have injured his legs, she said.

PETA noted that ‘records show that monkeys in laboratories in the US have been found with tuberculosis, Chagas disease, cholera and MRSA.’ The crab-eating macaque pictured is not the monkey missing in Pennsylvania

The pickup was heading west on I-80 when it got off at the Danville exit and then immediately tried to get back on, driving across the other lane, the newspaper reported.

Fallon told the Press Enterprise that she was behind the pickup 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, she told the newspaper.

‘They´re monkeys,’ she told the other motorist.

Jamie Labar, who was working the front desk of a nearby Super 8, said she initially thought it was a joke when someone told her of the accident. Then, she began to worry about the animals weaving through traffic and braving the cold weather, which was expected to drop below zero on Friday night. 

‘I hope somebody gets them out of the cold, whoever it is,’ she told the Times. ‘I want one, they are adorable.’

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