Erika Constantine set Facebook abuzz with her photographs and video of a mysterious animal carcass she discovered washed up on a popular South Carolina beach. Many people proffered suggestions ranging from raccoon to Rhesus monkey. Spoiler Alert: The deteriorated skeletal remains found on the beach at Melton Peter Demetre Park is not an escaped monkey from “Monkey Island.”
“Monkey Island” is a nickname for Morgan Island, South Carolina. Over 3,500 Rhesus monkeys live on 400 acres in a free-range environment. In 1979, 1,400 monkeys were relocated from Puerto Rico to live isolated from humans. Although owned by the National Institute of Allergy + Infectious Disease, a division of the National Institutes of Health, the monkeys reside on a portion of land leased from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to Charles River Laboratories, Inc. Humans are not permitted on the island. Visitors may travel by boat and view them from afar.
The island is 100 miles south of Demtre Park. A monkey could not have traveled or floated to be washed ashore. See the map with a black line showing the distance by air. The blue line shows the path the monkey would have taken to get from Monkey Island (south point) to Demtre Park (north point). It could not have traveled on its own.
Further, the skeletal remains do not resemble a Rhesus monkey skeleton. The skull does not match the skull of a Rhesus monkey.
Hopefully, the remains are properly examined, and an announcement made identifying the animal.