Support Salvation Army Wildfire Relief

Drone video captures mystery monkey facility in ‘middle of the desert’

MESA, Ariz. — “There were ones saying the place has been abandoned and the monkeys were left there eating themselves,” Jesse Sorensan said.

Speaking to KTVK by phone, Sorensan says a few web searches about the mysterious facility off Higley Road and Loop 202 raised more questions than answers.

“Different reports saying there’s nothing there and other people saying there is [sic] still monkey’s there,” Sorensan said.

So he decided to take a look for himself and the images his drone captured, captured the internet’s attention.

“Hovered above it and took some pictures, and kind of zoomed in a little bit to see if there was actually monkeys there and sure enough there’s activity there,” Sorensan said. “There’s monkeys in almost all the cages.”

The sight only made Sorensan more curious. Even a little concerned.

“What are these monkeys doing out in metal and concrete cages in the middle of the desert?” Sorensan said.

So KTVK went to get answers.

According to public records, the facility was once run by the Primate Foundation of Arizona. However, for the last four years, it’s been used as a research and breeding facility.

The University of Washington says they’ve been using this facility for the last four years in partnership with the CDC. They said every animal kept on the campus is properly cared for,

Officials with the university say the primates are used as part of research projects.

The facility itself is used to specifically breed pig-tailed macaques.

They also said the animals have unlimited access to both indoor and outdoor enclosures, air conditioning and veterinarian care.