Monkey Island, SC

Morgan Island, SC – commonly referred to as ‘Monkey Island’ by the locals – brings wild animals to South Carolina. While conspiracy theorists may think of ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’, Monkey Island is really used as a containment area for the primates Alpha Genesis Inc. uses for their biomedical research, a colony originally from the Caribbean Primate Research Center of La Parguera, Puerto Rico.

research monkeysSome of those primates include:

  • African Green – Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Capuchin monkey – Cebus apella
  • Common marmoset – Callithrix jacchus
  • Cynomolgus macaque – Macaca fascicularis
  • Owl monkey – Aotus nancymai
  • Rhesus macaque – Macaca mulatta
  • Squirrel monkey – Saimiri sciureus, and other species available upon request.

“AGI specializes in providing specific-pathogen-free (SPF) non-human primate models to the biomedical research community. Included are cynomolgus and rhesus macaques, African Greens, and several New World primate species for specialized biomedical applications. As a leading provider of nonhuman primates, AGI fosters outstanding research results for our customers by providing primate models of only the highest quality.” – Alpha Genesis Inc.

According to the CDC, there were incidents of the B virus in free-ranging Macaques in Puerto Rico’s Caribbean Primate Research Center, and eventually, they were moved to South Carolina.

Once transmitted to a human, B virus infection has a nearly 80% case-fatality rate.

While some people may have a problem with monkeys so close to their home, SCDNR says they don’t really have anywhere else to put them, and has posted ‘Off Limits’ signs everywhere on Morgan Island. Since the monkeys aren’t bothering the island’s environment or anybody else, the decision was made back in 2004 to let them stay – which is why everybody calls it Monkey Island now.

The question is, do people really know the history behind these monkeys? I didn’t until I dug in and found out where they originally came from. The included CDC report states there were outbreaks among locals when the monkeys became over populated – which is when S.C. stepped up and offered an island for ‘research’. True, these may not be the same batch of monkeys any more, but I sure won’t be having any picnics on Morgan Island beaches!




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