The report confirms that zoo owners Karl and Debbie Mogensen, who are professional members of the discredited "Zoological Association of America" (ZAA), continue to pull newborn capuchin monkeys from their fiercely-protective mothers for sale, presumably to the pet trade. The ZAA accredits poorly run roadside zoos, traveling zoos, and private menageries, and promotes the private ownership of exotic pets. ZAA facilities, members, and activities include individuals convicted of felonies, wildlife trafficking, and cruelty to animals. The deceptively-named organization has no affiliation with the highly respected Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
News of the Natural Bridge Zoo's state permit suspension is a hopeful development for the animals languishing there, but this case also highlights the need for much stronger laws to protect captive wildlife in Virginia and across the country. This past legislative session in Virginia, a bill to ban the possession and breeding of primates by roadside zoos was thwarted by the ZAA and its members. It is insane that these facilities can peddle primates as pets within the state without any animal welfare oversight.