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Monkeys found living in Mesa facility - but who is caring for them?

Posted at 7:03 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 16:02:49-04

It's a big mystery smack dab in the middle of the Arizona desert.

On the outskirts of Mesa, off of Loop 202 and Higley Road along the Salt River Project Canal is land blocked off by signs saying "no trespassing" and "danger."

Flanked on one side by an ammunitions testing facility, there is a mystery monkey farm that is still thriving. Drone video taken as recently as this past weekend shows cages full of monkeys in the desert.

One man, who requested that he remain anonymous, said he decided to check out the area after his son told him about the monkeys in the desert.

"He found it on the web, and we were just intrigued."

The man said a quick search about the monkey farm yielded YouTube videos and information stating that the former primate sanctuary had then sold the monkeys to science for research purposes. Some said the monkeys remaining on the farm were those left over after the lab studies ended.

"When you hear that there is a monkey farm in the middle of Mesa, it sounded interesting to me. Everything I read on the internet, that it was abandoned, and monkeys left there eating each other, that's what intrigued me to go look and see."

The man said he was chased off the property before he had even approached the gate.

"All of a sudden this guy comes at us in one of the Razor carts, he was yelling at us get out of here," said the man.

Drone video he shot shows large metal cages full of monkeys.

Another Valley man, Jesse Greer also got up close and personal shots of monkeys while he was out exploring. Just like the first man, he too wanted to know why these monkeys were out there in the middle of the Arizona desert.

Greer also obtained video of the monkeys living in cages. 

Both men expressed concerns about the animals.

"It just makes you wonder, why they're out there. Why so many? Why has nobody heard of it? Why are they hidden and tucked away?"

ABC15 reached out to several agencies to try and get answers. The city of Mesa, Maricopa County and the Arizona State Department of Agriculture had not heard about this. We were directed to the National Institute of Health. A spokeswoman wrote ABC15 back said everyone was out for the 4th of July holiday and they would look into it.

ABC15 has also reached out to tribal officials at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. We have not heard back from them yet.