Research monkey disappears from Atlanta lab

Rhesus macaque plays on fence, New Delhi, India, 2003/10/9
AP Photo

ATLANTA - Authorities at a metro Atlanta research lab are alerting neighbors and police to be on the lookout for a monkey who has gone missing.

The specially bred 2-year-old female rhesus monkey turned up missing during an annual veterinary exam last week, said Lisa Newbern, a spokeswoman at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

Newbern said she's notified neighborhood associations nearby to look for the monkey after she went missing from the center's field station in Lawrenceville.

"We want them to know that we are doing everything we can to find this animal," Newbern said.

"What we tell people is that these are wild animals, they are not pets," she added. "We want them to just be cautious if they see a monkey and to call us."

Gwinnett County police have also been alerted, she said.

The monkey wasn't infected with any disease as part of a study, Newbern said. She said the animal was specially bred without the herpes B virus, which is common to the species.

The Lawrenceville field station covers about 117 acres, and "we are looking throughout the property for this animal," Newbern said. "Staff are continually checking and re-checking again."

The Yerkes National Primate Research Center is part of Emory University in Atlanta. At the Lawrenceville field station, researchers conduct behavioral studies, trying to learn more about such things as how the animals care for their off-spring.

Newbern said anyone who sees a monkey should call authorities immediately and not approach the animal.