Park monkey care concerns

A RIVERSIDE woman has raised concerns about the duty of care given to Launceston's City Park monkeys.

After one of the Japanese macaque monkeys gave birth to a stillborn baby on Sunday afternoon, Del Crampton searched the enclosure area for a contact number for the Launceston City Council, the body that looks after the animals.

``The mother was washing its face, trying to wake it up. Meanwhile, there was a lot of blood,'' Miss Crampton said, who added that she was perhaps the only Launceston resident among a crowd of up to 20 tourists.

``The monkeys were distressed . . . there were tourists everywhere . . . I just thought something needed to be done.''

Miss Crampton said when she finally spoke to someone at the council, she was told that it was not the council's responsibility and that she would have to speak to RSPCA Tasmania's after-hours worker, who in-turn told her that they did not have access to the enclosure. 

Miss Crampton, along with her two daughters aged four and five, eventually left the park when a council worker turned up to close the enclosure about 4pm, but did not appear to acknowledge the death.

``It's become evident that there is no duty of care . . . there's no phone number there to call in emergencies,'' Miss Crampton said.

 ``What if someone threw a glass bottle in there? What if a child fell into the exhibit?''

Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the council was investigating why ``erroneous advice'' was given, despite there being procedures in place for such situations. 

Mr Dobrzynski said that the council would take on board the suggestion of placing a visible contact number at the enclosure.

He also said the council had been in discussions with RSPCA Tasmania, and the animal organisation agreed that there was nothing that the council could have done to prevent the death.

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