While Suncoast Primate “Sanctuary” in Palm Harbor, Florida, bills itself as a “safe haven,” its numerous animal welfare violations tell a different story.
Even though license revocations are extremely rare, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) yanked the facility’s exhibitor’s license in 1999. It took nine years for the granddaughter of the original owners to get a permit to reopen the facility, previously called the Chimp Farm, under the current misleading name. Then in 2010, two chimpanzees at Suncoast escaped and one seriously injured a volunteer, which resulted in a fine.
On November 7, 2022, a black-capped capuchin named Jack escaped from his enclosure and was missing for 24 hours before being recaptured. After PETA reported the escape to the USDA, the agency conducted an inspection and issued the roadside zoo numerous citations for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, including two critical citations—one for the loose capuchin and another for not having an attending veterinarian to properly care for the animals—along with citations for subjecting animals to “heavily soiled” feeding tubes; enclosures with rust, chipping paint, untethered fencing, and sharp edges of metallic piping; and dangerous “enrichment” items that were cracked and broken.
Footage and eyewitness accounts from Suncoast show lonely primates in small concrete cages with algae-covered toys and blankets. Without enrichment and socialization, primates can quickly become distressed, engaging in abnormal repetitive behavior. These conditions have landed Suncoast on PETA’s roadside zoo blacklist. The concrete cells at Suncoast are inhumane, and imprisoning orangutans and other animals in this way is a form of speciesism—a human-supremacist worldview.
Please send polite comments to Suncoast at [email protected] urging the facility to send these primates to real, accredited sanctuaries, where they can finally get the care that they desperately need
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