The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found even more violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary in Gainesville, FL, based on a two day inspection in September.
The sanctuary has been hit hard by state and federal regulators after whistleblower complaints of inadequate and inappropriate care and conditions for the primates and severe understaffing issues.
A newly released inspection report revealed three violations found during a USDA inspection from Sept. 29-30.
The inspector cited Jungle Friends for a white-faced capuchin enclosure. The enclosure’s roof had collapsed inward, creating an opening large enough for the two primates to escape, according to the inspection report.
“Animals may be injured or harmed when they access outside areas,” according to the inspection report. “Gaining unauthorized access outside could have resulted in animal or human injury.”
In one area of the sanctuary identified as “Munchkin land,” inspectors found a plastic container with a lid that had been left slightly ajar. The container held peanuts that were growing a green fuzzy mold.
“The ingestion of mold is inherently detrimental to the health and welfare of animals,” the inspector noted in the report.
Jungle Friends was cited with a repeat violation for the contaminated monkey food.
USDA inspectors also found deceased insect bodies on the same shelf that the peanut storage container was found.
In the area of the sanctuary where facility staff previously observed a squirrel monkey mouthing the body of a deceased rat, inspectors identified a hole in the wall. During the second day of inspections, facility staff spotted a raccoon in the vicinity of the capuchin enclosures.
“Mammalian and insect pests can both carry parasites and various diseases that could compromise the health and wellbeing of nonhuman primates,” according to the inspection report.
Jungle Friends was cited with a repeat violation for the cleaning and sanitation issues identified.
The September violations bring Jungle Friend’s total federal violations for the year to 10 non-critical violations, one direct violation, and one Official Warning.
At previous inspections of Jungle Friends in January and July, inspectors found filthy enclosures that hadn’t been cleaned in so long that the feces inside were growing mold on them. Inspectors found deteriorating, rusty cages filled with weeds, overgrown grass and other vegetation that was acting as living areas for pests, rodents and vermin, reports indicate.
Inspectors found a dead bird in a freezer next to treats for the monkeys and a refrigerator infested with small insects both dead and alive next to bananas and medications for the monkeys.
Although Jungle Friends employs two veterinarians, inspectors found there was limited communication between the veterinarians and no clear guidance for employees as to when they should contact the attending veterinarian or the consulting veterinarian for veterinary care concerns.
Inspectors also noted the facility has an insufficient number of staff members, leaving current employees unable to clean indoor enclosures daily as required and unable to keep up with recordkeeping
The staff shortages are reportedly due to Executive Director Kari Bagnall’s poor treatment of the employees and volunteers.
Former staff members and volunteers have started the Facebook page Primates over Profits to advocate for the monkeys at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary “who deserve better care,” according to the page.
They believe the only solution to the numerous issues at the sanctuary is for Bagnall to be removed from her position as executive director.
Primates over Profits said 28 primates have passed away at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary in the past 15 months and they’re worried that “more monkeys will die from the lack of proper care unless new management is established.”
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary September USDA report: