San Diego Zoo says 'free monkeys' ad on Craigslist is April Fools' Day hoax

Zoo officials say prank raises good points

SAN DIEGO - 10News receives thousands of emails everyday, but on Monday morning, a viewer forwarded a Craigslist ad with an unusual subject -- free monkeys.

In the ad, a person claiming to be a chimpanzee trainer at the San Diego Zoo claimed two chimps were born at the zoo recently and they are looking for a good home. It then tells anyone interested to contact "Andrea" and her phone number is listed.

10News reporter Joe Little called Andrea three times and only got her voicemail message.

10News then contacted the zoo about the free monkeys and zoo official Rick Schwartz said, "First of all, chimpanzees aren't monkeys; they're apes … and no, we aren't giving any away … apparently, there's a bit of tomfoolery on April Fool's Day."

Zoo officials were actually happy with the prank because it raises two important points.

Experts say chimpanzees are dangerous pets, as they have the strength to kill a person.

"They might be cute and fuzzy as babies, but they don't have those compatibility things with humans at all," said Schwartz.

Secondly, Schwartz said the exotic pet trade puts a species in danger.

"The demise of many of the species out there is the fact that they'll go out there and kill the adults and take the youngest and sell them on the black market," Schwartz told 10News.

"So no, the Zoo is not offering free monkeys or chimps … and no, we don't recommend a tiger or anything else like that [as a pet] either," Schwartz added.

Andrea never called 10News back, and the ad has since been removed from Craigslist.

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