Monkeying around: Jersey City animal control rescues rare primate from Journal Square

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Saturday night wasn’t just another day at the office for animal control officers in Jersey City: they ended up rescuing an owl monkey from Journal Square. 

Biggie the monkey. Photo courtesy of the Liberty Humane Society.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Around 8 p.m. on Saturday, Liberty Humane Society’s Animal Response Team (ART) received a report of a monkey wearing a diaper loose in Journal Square, LHS said in a statement.

The caller stated that the monkey had landed on the hood of his car and jumped into the backseat when he opened the door.

LHS’s ART Officer responded to the scene, secured the monkey in a carrier and transported him to a Liberty Humane Society Certified Animal Control Officer who sought the guidance of a zookeeper.

The monkey was determined to be an owl monkey, a rare nocturnal primate from the rainforests of South America, who primarily eats fruit, officials said.

It is illegal to own a monkey in New Jersey since they are considered potentially dangerous animals, per state law. However, they are allowed to be kept as pets in other states.

This particular monkey, named Biggie, was legally licensed in Florida and registered as a therapy pet. His owner was visiting New Jersey when Biggie escaped.

Yesterday, New Jersey Fish and Wildlife’s exotic specialist allowed Liberty Humane Society to return Biggie to his owner, provided he immediately return to Florida.

“After a short stay with us at Liberty Humane, some cuddles, and much fruit, we are so happy to have been able to safely return Biggie to his owner,” said LHS Executive Director Irene Borngraeber.

“The moral of this story is: pet monkeys are illegal, no matter how tame; don’t bring them to New Jersey.”

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