Pennsylvania State Police were scouring an area near Danville in the central part of the state on Friday and Saturday in a search for three high-profile subjects. The authorities were clear: The public was not to attempt to look for or get near the subjects on the run. This was not a case of dangerous criminals on the loose, but rather a trio of monkeys.
The search began on Friday after a trailer truck carrying 100 cynomolgus macaque monkeys from Mauritius on their way to a research laboratory was involved in a crash with a 2019 Dodge Ram pickup. The Pennsylvania State Police said that after the initial impact, the truck broke off from the trailer it was hauling, which contained the monkeys. Three monkeys became loose from the trailer as a result of the crash, police said.
The driver of the trailer truck sustained suspected minor injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment. The driver of the Dodge Ram was not injured.
Authorities didn’t take the search lightly. They were aided by the Liberty Valley Fire Department, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, among others. As told by the Guardian, troopers searched for the monkeys with their rifles in hand and enlisted the help of a helicopter. The firefighters, meanwhile, used thermal imaging technology to locate the monkeys.
By Saturday morning, two of the monkeys had been found. While authorities searched for the remaining monkey, they urged the public not to get near it.
“There is still one monkey unaccounted for, but we are asking that no one attempt to look for or capture the animal,” state troopers Andrea Pelachick and Lauren Lesher said on their joint Twitter account. “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.”
According to the Associated Press, authorities told people not to approach the monkeys because they were not domesticated animals and were in an unknown territory. Consequently, it was hard to predict how they would react in the presence of humans.
Police proceeded to release photos of the monkeys that had escaped. It was not clear whether the photos were of the remaining elusive third monkey or of one of the other two monkeys already in custody.
Later in the day, Pelachick and Lesher reported that all of the monkeys were accounted for, although some of them met an unfortunate end. The AP reported that three of monkeys were dead after being humanely euthanized. It was not clear whether the monkeys that were put down were the ones who escaped.