Missing capuchin monkey in Corrigan part of a smart breed, expert says

“What we would have said to our clients is don’t put the monkey in the car,” said Nahabedian. “Don’t take the monkey out of the house. Leave the monkey at home in an appropriate enclosure.”
Missing capuchin monkey in Corrigan part of a smart breed, expert says
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:23 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 9:14 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - As Boss the capuchin monkey still roams free somewhere in the Corrigan area, authorities are on the lookout for him. The Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin does not have capuchin monkeys, but general curator Celia Falzone says an animal like Boss will not be used to being on its own.

“A capuchin monkey is a social animal,” said Falzone. “Normally they live in groups. They don’t do well as single animals when they don’t have other capuchins to be companions with them. This animal that has escaped I don’t know anything about, but it is probably going to try to find some place where it feels safe so it is likely to go up high. We’ve got a lot of tall trees, it could be anywhere in the trees.”

Capuchin monkeys were able to be trained as service animals until 2010 when the American Disabilities Act deemed them to be a danger to both owners and the public due to disease transmission and aggression. Prior to 2010, Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers based in Boston trained capuchins. Physical therapists worked with animal behavior experts during the process. Executive director Diane Nahabedian says capuchins have ideal skills to help patients with spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy and other physical conditions.

“When we were training them, one of the reasons capuchin monkeys made such great service animals was because they are such a smart animal, they were able to assist people who were living with physical disabilities so they could do the tasks,” said Nahabedian.

Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers has transitioned away from the use of service animals and more toward innovative technology.

“What we would have said to our clients is don’t put the monkey in the car,” said Nahabedian. “Don’t take the monkey out of the house. Leave the monkey at home in an appropriate enclosure. I mean it’s a monkey, it’s like a little kid. You know, if a little kid is left alone, kids get into everything.”

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