A baby white-faced capuchin monkey has died of COVID-19 after being utilized in petting interactions at the Texas roadside zoo “Home for Angels.”
Home for Angels is owned by Shanna Hodges and is located in Caddo Mills, Texas. The facility offers paid petting interactions with lemurs, sloths, kangaroos, kinkajou, coatimundi, fennec fox, wallaby, otters and other animals.
On September 8, 2021, Home for Angels posted on social media that they had obtained a three-week-old white-faced capuchin they named Ciara.
The facility announced they would immediately be bringing the newly obtained primate to a fundraising event to participate in petting interactions.
Ciara was then utilized in at least a dozen public interactions documented on social media including birthday parties, petting zoos, group tours and even photos with police officers.
Many of the photos show Ciarra perched next to visitor’s faces for photo ops.
The Scientist reports that primates are susceptible to COVID-19. Researchers at the Washington National Primate Research Center in Seattle wear face masks, face shields, hair nets, two sets of protective gloves, Tyvek suits, and booties over their shoes whenever they go into an area where animals are housed, to prevent the spread of disease, The Scientist reported.
On December 1, 2021, Home for Angels made a post on social media indicating Hodges had “been so sick” that she had not been posting photos or videos on social media.
Eight days later, Hodges posted a photo of Ciara next to her face with the caption “Lil Ciara cuddles.”
Over the next month Hodges posted dozens of photos of Ciara interacting with visitors at her roadside zoo.
Then on January 13, 2022, Hodges posted that Ciara had passed away due to COVID.
“Heartbroken…our sweet Ciara crossed the rainbow bridge last night,” Home for Angels posted on social media.
Records indicate that Home for Angels is not licensed as an exhibitor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture; which is federally required for facilities that exhibit animals to the public.