Actions You Can Take >
Working Animals > Animals in Entertainment
Linda Vannatta, a zookeeper at the Honolulu Zoo, has been tirelessly heading up this movement to "Free the Monkeys" since 2001. The following are Linda's own words about how she learned of the plight of the Blue Tropix monkeys and decided to help them:
In June of 2001 I learned of the opening of the Blue Tropix monkey bar through my work at the Honolulu Zoo. Shortly thereafter, I went to the nightclub with another zookeeper and a zoo volunteer. We were curious as to what the set up would be like for monkeys in a nightclub. I vividly remember the horror I felt as I took my first look at the display. There was a squirrel monkey pacing frantically back and forth in a long narrow glass enclosure behind a row of assorted liquor bottles. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The monkey looked frightened, and I immediately noticed there was no place for him to get away from the stares of the bar patrons who were laughing and pointing at this poor, frantic animal. I know from my education at Colorado State University that squirrel monkeys are innately shy, canopy- oriented animals, and the display at the Blue Tropix was inappropriate for this species. I even mentioned to the bartender that the monkey, at the very least, needed a tree to climb and hide in. The bartender replied, however, the owners did not want a tree in the enclosure because they wanted the monkey visible to the bar patrons at all times.
The next day I called Cathy Goeggel of Animal Rights Hawaii to inform her of the Blue Tropix. To my relief she already knew about the place, and was already planning a protest. Cathy told me that, sadly, a three-month old infant had been flown with the male, but the frail baby, too young to care for herself, died of starvation en route. A few days later I joined the Animal Rights Hawaii protest on the sidewalk in front of Blue Tropix. Since then I have taken every opportunity to inform the public about this situation and to educate them about the cruel nature of this live monkey display.
Three years later, I am truly shocked that Blue Tropix is still in business. I have talked to scores of people who have vowed to boycott Blue Tropix until the monkeys are released, but still more education is needed. There is a steadily growing number of dedicated individuals who are working hard to find a way to have the monkeys removed. I pray that one day we are successful is closing down this outdated, disgusting display and have the monkeys transferred to a sanctuary where they can live a life free of human exploitation.