Published August 07, 2012
Several monkeys descended from those that were brought to Puerto Rico decades ago to be used in scientific research and which now live in the rural areas of the island have migrated to San Juan.
The daily Primera Hora collected in its Monday edition the statements of residents of the capital's central district of Santurce who say that over the past few weeks they have been periodically visited by the primates, which are becoming a problem due to the damage they cause to crops and the risk they pose to public health.
The residents, the paper reported, say that they have never seen any monkeys in the area, where it is no longer strange to find the primates searching for food.
The presence of the animals in the capital has motivated the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources to mobilize to track down the monkeys.
The sighting of the monkeys in the capital's central area comes after in March residents of the San Juan suburb of Guaynabo reported the presence of primates on their property.
The monkeys have been designated a menace in the southwestern part of the island and their presence led authorities in 2007 to launch a campaign to capture them during which about 2,000 were trapped.
The origin of the monkeys in Puerto Rico, according to hypotheses kicked around by the local press, could stem from individual animals who reached the southwestern coast from the islets of Cueva and Guayacan, where during the 1960s they were being used in various experiments.
The monkeys are not native to the island, and thus no natural predators exist for them in Puerto Rico. Consequently, their spread on the island cannot be limited in that way.