Did you know that there are monkeys right here in Gainesville?

Located on 12 acres just north of town, Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary provides permanent, high-quality sanctuary care for abused or unwanted New World primates, who have been cast off from the pet trade, released from research or confiscated by authorities. Jungle Friends is dedicated to providing a loving home to monkeys in need of lifetime care.

All this monkey business began with a capuchin monkey named Samantha. Samantha was originally purchased as a pet by a friend of founder Kari Bagnall. As Samantha grew older, she turned into the wild monkey she was born to be. When Samantha’s owner was no longer able to control her, she was given to Kari.

Kari realized that Samantha needed to be with other monkeys. But when she tried purchasing a second, she witnessed the breeder stealing a baby monkey away from her mother. Kari knew she had to do something. Stealing babies was wrong: wrong for the baby, wrong for the mother and certainly wrong for misguided humans who wanted a “pet” monkey.

This brought Kari to start Jungle Friends as a small endeavor in Las Vegas with 13 monkeys. Then, in 1999, Kari headed to Gainesville for a more monkey-friendly climate.

As the need for primate sanctuaries continued to grow, so did the Jungle Friends waiting list. Now there are more than 100 monkeys who call Jungle Friends home. The monkeys have a large, naturalistic habitat with monkey friends and plenty of grass, trees, swings, buckets and barrels for their wild monkey antics. Watch the video Almost Wild to see the Jungle Friends monkeys enjoying life at Jungle Friends.

Words cannot describe the wonderful sight of a monkey, newly out of laboratory research, touching grass for the first time, basking in the sun or meeting a monkey friend. Due to the rising need for primate sanctuaries, Jungle Friends will be doubling in size over the next two years as four laboratories close its doors and release nearly 200 monkeys. The University of Georgia is one of these universities and intends to be a role model for other universities by contributing and helping us to raise funds for the monkeys’ ongoing care. Learn more about the UGA Gang, and help us get more monkeys out of research.

As a non-profit 501-(c)-3 organization, Jungle Friends is funded solely by private donations and is able to provide quality care because of our generous supporters. Please help the monkeys by donating or sponsoring a monkey today!

You can also get involved by becoming a volunteer.  We accept volunteers any day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We ask you to make a four-hour commitment as many projects can take some time to complete.

Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary runs on volunteer power, and we love our community members for being so involved. Come join the monkey fun and become a volunteer today! And be sure to like us on Facebook to see videos and pictures of the monkeys and stay up to date on life at the sanctuary.