Monkey island pr: Get Close to an Island Run by Monkeys

The Puerto Rican Island Where 1,500 Monkeys Rule | Travel

Jennifer Nalewicki

Travel Correspondent

On the morning of September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, pummeling the island with 170 mile per hour wind gusts and flooding rain. It would be the first category 4 hurricane to strike the island in nearly 85 years, leaving many citizens without basic necessities like electricity, food, running water and shelter. However, in the storm’s aftermath, one community of residents emerged largely unscathed: some 1,500 rhesus macaques living a mile off the eastern shore of Puerto Rico on Cayo Santiago.

The island, known locally as Monkey Island, first became home to these unlikely inhabitants in the late 1930s, when primatologist Clarence Carpenter brought about 450 of the monkeys by ship from India to the 38-acre island to study their social and sexual behaviors. Through that initial pioneering research, the tree-studded enclave eventually became home to the Caribbean Primate Research Center, an educational and research facility that’s part of the University of Puerto Rico. Over the years, generations of monkeys have descended from that original colony, and today those descendants roam freely around the island, playing on its sandy beaches and exploring its endless canopy of trees. The rhesus macaques—each weighing about 20 pounds and known for their long, fluffy tails and straw-colored fur—live largely independent from human intervention (minus feedings).

The monkeys descend from an original colony of 450 macaques brought by ship from India in the 1930s.

Caribbean Primate Research Center

After the hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, researchers from the center feared the worst for the monkeys, unsure if they would even survive the storm. (Initial news reports were saying that the human death toll was hovering at 65 casualties.) However, once it was safe to return to the island, the scientists were surprised to find that the furry inhabitants had persevered.

“Two days after the storm, members of our staff took a boat to the island to feed them,” says Alyssa Arre, the center’s scientific director. “Everyone worried that the monkeys had died, but that wasn’t the case.”

Arre says it’s impossible to say for sure if any of the monkeys succumbed to the storm, however the workers tasked with taking daily census counts of the population didn’t find any irregularities.

While no cameras exist on the island to capture exactly how the macaques faired during the storm, Arre suspects that they sought shelter by climbing onto one of the island’s two hills and staying low to the ground. The only buildings on the island are used by staff for storage and research purposes.

“The hurricane destroyed all of the vegetation that the monkeys use to supplement their diets,” Arre says. “The wind was so strong [it knocked off twigs and branches], so we don’t think that they climbed into trees.”

The monkeys live largely independent from human intervention (minus feedings).

Caribbean Primate Research Center

The only daily human intervention that the monkeys receive are feedings, which came about as the result of the monkeys destroying much of the vegetation early on in their arrival to the island.

“Originally, [Carpenter and his team] thought the monkeys would just live on the island without any human intervention, but the monkeys quickly destroyed all of the vegetation on the island and ate everything,” Arre says. “So, they realized they would have to start sustaining the population with food provisions, and it’s been that way since the beginning.”

Currently, their diet includes coconuts, corn, seeds, apples, papaya and Purina Monkey Chow (yes, it’s a real thing!), which are yellow egg-shaped dry biscuits. Arre confirms that the monkeys are not fans of bananas despite what movies and media may depict.

“They like to take the monkey chow and put it in a puddle and roll it around [so it softens] before they eat it,” she says.

As a research institution that has been studying these mammals for decades, it only made sense to take a closer look into how trauma, in this case a natural disaster, affected their behavior and relationships. Researchers were surprised by their findings.

During Hurricane Maria, the monkeys likely sought shelter by climbing onto one of the island’s two hills and staying low to the ground.

Caribbean Primate Research Center

“After Hurricane Maria, the monkeys had more affiliative interactions in their social networks, and their social networks expanded, so they were interacting with more individuals” Arre says. “Researchers also studied how trauma, especially early-life adversity like a hurricane, can affect a monkey’s behavior and health.”

That research would eventually become part of a study published early last year in Current Biology, concluding that the macaques “became more social” and monkeys that were more isolated prior to the hurricane “increased social connections most after it.”

Another study found that females were reproducing less frequently after the hurricane.

Since its official establishment in 1970, the center has built a reputation as a pioneer in the field of primate research and has made many important contributions to our understanding of both primate and human behavior. The late William Windle, who oversaw the perinatal physiology lab at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness (NINDB) in San Juan, worked closely with the island as it provided resources for behavioral and reproductive studies under naturalistic conditions. Windle studied the effects that asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) can have on a monkey’s brain during birth, and the permanent damage of the brain those effects can engender. His work not only changed delivery procedures in human infants, but he also went on to be awarded the Lasker Prize in 1968 for his work. More recently, researchers who have worked at the institute have been shedding light onto Covid-19 and its effects on monkeys.

Studying the monkeys on Monkey Island contributes to our understanding of primate behavior and how it translates to our own behavior as humans.

Caribbean Primate Research Center

A 1939 article published in Life magazine and photographed by German photojournalist Hansel Mieth also put Monkey Island on the map. One of Mieth’s images, known for being one of the most iconic animal photos in history, features a rhesus macaque sitting in the water soaking wet.

In a later interview, Mieth explained how she captured it, saying, “One afternoon all the doctors were away and a little kid came running to me and said, ‘A monkey’s in the water’… I don’t think [the monkey] liked me, but he sat on that coral reef, and I took about a dozen shots.”

Today, the island isn’t open to the general public, in order to prevent unnecessary human contact with the monkeys. Yet, each year, visiting researchers come to the island to study the monkeys and tap into the island’s expansive database that contains more than 60 years’ worth of data, from basic demographic information (age, social groupings and maternity rates) on more than 11,000 monkeys to genetic information and a collection of more than 3,300 monkey skeletons. Their studies continue to push the needle forward in our understanding of primate behavior and how it translates to our own behavior as humans.

«Rhesus macaques make a good model for humans, as we share many characteristics of our biology and similarly live highly social lives,» Arre says. «Taken together, the projects with the rhesus macaques conducted at Caya Santiago help us better understand human sociality and health, and recently, how adversity and trauma might affect the life of an individual.»

Recommended Videos

What Puerto Rico’s Monkeys Post-Maria Teach Us About Survival


Home//Radio//On Point



Copy the code below to embed the WBUR audio player on your site

<iframe scrolling=»no» frameborder=»no» src=»»></iframe>


May 22, 2019

A female monkey carries her baby on her back on Cayo Santiago, known as Monkey Island, in Puerto Rico, Oct. 4, 2017. (Ramon Espinosa/AP)This article is more than 3 years old.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s «monkey island.» The surviving primates have a lot to teach us about surviving trauma.


Luke Dittrich, contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. Author of «Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets.»

Michael Platt, director of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative and James S. Riepe professor of neuroscience, psychology and marketing at the University of Pennsylvania. ()

Athena Viscusi, psychological care specialist at Doctors Without Borders. ()

The Inhabitants Of Puerto Rico’s Cayo Santiago

From The Reading List

New York Times Magazine: «Primal Fear: Can Monkeys Help Unlock the Secrets of Trauma?» — «On Valentine’s Day, 2018, five months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Daniel Phillips stood at the edge of a denuded forest on the eastern half of a 38-acre island known as Cayo Santiago, a clipboard in his hand, his eyes on the monkeys. The island sits about a half-mile off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico, near a village called Punta Santiago. Phillips and his co-workers left the mainland shortly after dawn, and the monkeys had already begun to gather by the time they arrived, their screams and oddly birdlike chirps louder than the low rumble of the motorboat that ferried the humans.

«The monkeys were everywhere. Some were drinking from a large pool of stagnant rainwater; some were grooming each other, nit-picking; some were still gnawing on the plum-size pellets of chow that Phillips hurled into the crowd a half-hour before. Two sat on the naked branch of a tree, sporadically mating. They were all rhesus macaques, a species that grows to a maximum height of about two and a half feet and a weight of about 30 pounds. They have long, flexible tails; dark, expressive eyes; and fur ranging from blond to dark brown.

«Phillips’s notebook was full of empty tables. There were places for the monkeys’ ID numbers, which were tattooed on their chests and inner thighs, places for a description of their behavior, places for the time of day. There was a place for his own name, too, and he wrote it at the top of each page. Daniel Phillips is not a Puerto Rican name, whatever that means, but he was born here, in a big hospital in Fajardo. He arrived more than a month early and spent his first weeks in an incubator, but grew up to be a high school and college wrestler; as a biology major, he became interested in monkeys, and was invited by a primatologist from Duke University to take a job as a research assistant here on Cayo Santiago.

«Like humans, rhesus macaques possess advanced problem-solving skills and opposable thumbs and have been known to use tools. They have complex emotional and social lives. Although chimpanzees and a few other ape species are closer cousins to humans — we share approximately 93 percent of our DNA with macaques and 98 percent with chimps — macaques are easier to manage and less protected by regulations, which is partly why they account for 65 percent of research on nonhuman primate subjects funded by the National Institutes of Health. «

The Atlantic: «Rescuing Puerto Rico’s Monkey Island» — «Off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, barely a kilometer from the mainland, lies the tiny island of Cayo Santiago. Its 38 acres, shaped like a lowercase r, are home to some unexpected residents—a troop of around 1,000 rhesus macaque monkeys.

«Rhesus macaques typically live half a world away in Southeast Asia. But after 406 of them were shipped over in 1938, they quickly took to Caribbean life, and thrived. So did the scientists who work with them. The island has become something of a destination for primatologists. It’s so small, and the monkeys so plentiful and habituated, that even though they are fully wild creatures, they are very easy to track and observe. The last time I spoke to someone on the island—James Higham from New York University—he was standing a few meters away from a female and a male, who were boisterously mating.

«Cayo Santiago’s macaques are now among the best-studied primates anywhere on the planet. For 79 years and 9 generations, their births, deaths, and group dynamics have all been charted. Researchers have looked at their group dynamics, parenting styles, mental abilities, how their genes affect their social lives, how scratching helps them cope with conflict. ‘Many of our early discoveries about primate communication and behavior were discovered there,’ says Laurie Santos from Yale University. ‘It’s an iconic place in primate behavior and science more generally.’ «

The Atlantic: «Inherited Trauma Shapes Your Health» — «Often when I complain to my therapist about how stressed out I am by a problem I’m having, she says a variation on the same thing:

«‘Well, like all Ashkenazi Jews, you have a lot of intergenerational trauma. You know, because of everything that’s … happened.’

«Of course you’re anxious, she seems to say; you’re Jewish! I think it’s meant to help me feel more at peace with my emotions, but I must admit I find this response deeply unsatisfying.

«I am, of course, grateful that my life is easier than the lives of my relatives—Jewish and otherwise—who survived World War II. At the same time, I can’t do anything about the fact that the Holocaust happened, so I don’t want to spend time thinking about its effects on my cortisol levels. I can, however, write the perfect email to get myself out of a scrape, or find a way to stop thinking about why I didn’t get some plaudit or another.

«‘The Jews have nothing to do with it!’ I always want to say in response, as though I’m debunking some George Soros–related conspiracy.

«But a growing body of evidence suggests my therapist might be right and I’m wrong.

«The most recent chapter is a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week by researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research. They found that the sons of Union Army soldiers who endured grueling conditions as prisoners of war were more likely to die young than the sons of soldiers who were not prisoners. This is despite the fact that the sons were born after the war, so they couldn’t have experienced its horrors personally. In other words, it seemed like the stresses of war were getting passed down between generations.»

Stefano Kotsonis produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on May 22, 2019.

description, address, hours and opening hours 2022

Monkey Island is a nature reserve in the Xincun lagoon, on the territory of which about two thousand Guangxi macaques constantly live. All monkeys are kept in natural conditions, and any tourist can freely play with animals or treat them with treats. Primates are accustomed to people and mostly friendly, but very agile and cunning — you just have to be distracted a little, and tailed thieves immediately strive to get into pockets or snatch things from the hands of careless guests. The first rule for visiting the island is to firmly hold shiny jewelry, smartphones, photographic equipment and other gadgets in your hands.


China, Nanwan Monkey Island Hainan.

Opening hours

Daily from 08:00 to 16:30.

Address: China, Hainan Island, Nanwan Monkey Island.

Opening hours: Daily from 08:00 to 16:30.

Ticket price: Admission — 63 RMB.

Monkey Island is a nature reserve in Xintsun Lagoon, where about two thousand Guangxi macaques live permanently. All monkeys are kept in natural conditions, and any tourist can freely play with animals or treat them with treats. Primates are accustomed to people and mostly friendly, but very agile and cunning — you just have to be distracted a little, and tailed thieves immediately strive to get into pockets or snatch things from the hands of careless guests. The first rule for visiting the island is to firmly hold shiny jewelry, smartphones, photographic equipment and other gadgets in your hands.

What can you see on Monkey Island?

Monkey Island is a government protected area. A small part of the territory is open for tourists. Walking is allowed only on special paths and paths. This was done in order to protect animals from excessive attention and provide them with rest.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by guides and trained monkeys holding national flags of different countries of the world in their paws. Here at the entrance you can buy chopped fruits, nuts and other treats for the inhabitants.

Monkey Island. Photo:

The reserve fully lives up to its name – walking through the park you can see dozens of monkeys of different sizes chasing each other noisily, swimming in the water and begging for treats from tourists who are delighted with what they see. In addition to walks in the park, there are two performances with the participation of monkeys. Tailed performers will perform tricky and fun stunts like tightrope walking and riding miniature bikes.

Rules of conduct

Although the monkeys seem nice and friendly, certain safety precautions must be observed — they are still wild animals that can behave unpredictably. Employees at the entrance to the park or guides introduce the basic rules of behavior for tourists.

Monkey performances. Photo:

Three basic rules:

  • Do not approach or touch the cubs. Adults may regard this behavior as an act of threat from a person and attack.
  • The leader of the pack should be the first to give food, so as not to provoke aggression. Alpha is easy to recognize by its size — the main male stands out from the others.
  • Do not use flash. If you want to take a lot of bright photos, plan to visit in the first half of the day when the natural light is quite intense.

Walks and photo shoots on Monkey Island will take at least 3-4 hours, so we recommend that you go to the park as early as possible.

How to get to the island?

The most convenient way to visit the island is to book an excursion with an English-speaking guide. Most tours to the island start from Sanya. Estimated cost of the tour — from 260 RMB. Solo travelers can reach their destination by driving to the bay in the Xintsun Lagoon (60 km from Sanya), where a cable car leads from the village of the same name to the island.

Phuket Monkey Island | Description, photos, how to get to Sirey

Phuket Holiday Blog » Attractions

In the Phuket Town area, there are two places where you can always see long-tailed macaques — Monkey Mountain and Sirey Island, also known as Monkey Island in Phuket.

Published: Heading: Attractions


  1. Phuket’s Fairy Monkey Island
  2. How to get to Sirey Island?
  3. Photos of Sirey Monkey Island

There are two places in Phuket Town where you can always see long-tailed macaques — Monkey Mountain and Sirey Island, also known as Monkey Island in Phuket .

Fairy Monkey Island in Phuket

To the right of the road, a unique mangrove forest, like from a fairy tale about Mowgli, with tree roots high above the ground and a shady crown, is home to several large flocks of monkeys, in each of them, you can easily distinguish large imperturbable leaders, mothers with babies tightly clinging to the belly, nimble teenagers and screaming males and females. They spend the hot hours of the day on branches in the forest, so it is better to go here after lunch, when all the flocks run to the site to fill their bellies with nuts and bananas. If you are not afraid to get your shoes dirty, you can go down to them, feed them from your hands, take interesting photos and even pet them. Just be careful, because macaques are known thieves and can steal anything from you.

An interesting article about Monkey Mountain in Phuket Town.

Sirey Island, Phuket

How to get to Sirey Island?

Sirey Island is located on the east side and is separated from the city by a small river, which serves mainly as a parking lot for small and medium-sized boats, across which a large concrete bridge has been built. Driving further down the road, you will see funny signs warning that monkeys may run out onto the roadway, and then the place itself. There are stalls selling bananas, nuts and cane juice in the parking lot, don’t forget to buy treats here for your furry friends or, which will be cheaper, take food with you. Opposite, across the road there is a convenient platform with benches, from which tourists throw food to the already constantly full monkeys.

Visiting Monkey Island in Phuket close to sunset, you can see and even take part in the “monkey frisbee”, when an elderly Thai woman brings huge papaya fruits, and after cutting them into circles, throws them to the happy monkeys.

Photos of Sirey Monkey Island



Ivan / author of the article

I have been living in Phuket since 2007. Founder of tour agencies in Phuket and Pattaya. He founded a dive center and a store for latex pillows and mattresses.

Добавить комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован. Обязательные поля помечены *