Alexandria Zoo Under Fire After Endangered Primates’ Deaths

PETA Calls for Investigation of Facility’s Reported Fatal Neglect

For Immediate Release:
January 13, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Alexandria, La.

According to reports, two critically endangered cotton-top tamarins—tiny monkeys—died at the Alexandria Zoological Park last week after an employee left three of the little fellows out in the cold. That’s why this morning, PETA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on the agency to investigate the incident and hold the zoo accountable for any and all violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act that it may have committed. PETA wants enforcement to prevent any future act that could result in needless harm or deaths at the zoo.

“These tamarins lived a sad life of deprivation in captivity, and their deaths were totally preventable,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “This fatal neglect is all too common in zoos and other places where animals are displayed for human amusement, and that’s why PETA’s motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment.’”

Yet another fatal incident occurred last week when at least 28 animals, including 18 primates, reportedly died of smoke inhalation in a barn fire at Hollywild Animal Park in Wellford, S.C.

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PETA’s letter to the USDA follows.


January 13, 2015


Dr. Robert Gibbens
Regional Director
USDA/APHIS/AC Western Region


Re:    Request for Investigation Into Reported Deaths of Tamarins at the Alexandria Zoo (License No. 72-C-0001)


Dear Dr. Gibbens:

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to request that the U.S. Department of Agriculture promptly investigate the circumstances surrounding the reported deaths of two tamarins at the Alexandria Zoo (license no. 72-C-0001). According to the attached article, on January 7, three of the primates were left outside in the cold overnight and two of them died as a result. Such gross oversight by the zoo points to the following likely violations of the Animal Welfare Act:

  • 9 C.F.R. § 2.131 (b)(1) (“Handling of all animals shall be done as expeditiously and carefully as possible in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort.”)
  • 9 C.F.R. § 3.85 (“Every person subject to the Animal Welfare regulations … maintaining nonhuman primates must have enough employees to carry out the level of husbandry practices and care required in this subpart. The employees who provide husbandry practices and care, or handle nonhuman primates, must be trained and supervised by an individual who has the knowledge, background, and experience in proper husbandry and care of nonhuman primates to supervise others. The employer must be certain that the supervisor can perform to these standards.”)
  • 9 C.F.R. § 2.131(a) (“All licensees who maintain wild or exotic animals must demonstrate adequate experience and knowledge of the species they maintain.”)

Please ensure that the tamarin who reportedly survived the cold night receives adequate veterinary care, in accordance with 9 C.F.R. § 2.40, and that all animals at the facility are protected from the cold at all times. Please also hold the zoo fully accountable for any and all violations that you discover during your investigation.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Please inform me of the complaint number that you assign to this correspondence.

Very truly yours,

Brittany Peet, Esq.
Deputy Director | Captive Animal Law Enforcement
PETA Foundation


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