Ricardo the big monkey is trained to protect himself as a part-time police officer

As the city evolves, so does its ability to create and maintain animal shelters. This video explains the Washington Animal Rescue League’s new sustainable shelter.

Ricardo (pronounced Ra-bree) is a large monkey, weighing between 70 and 80 pounds. So, what does he do for work?

“He serves as a part-time police officer with the District of Columbia Police Department,” says Gretchen Spark, spokesperson for the Police Department.

From weekdays to weekends, Ricardo and fellow MCPD employee Joseph Fogle round up the monkeys in cages at police headquarters and transport them to the D.C. Animal Welfare League, where he and Joseph are caring for his fellow monkeys.

What does Ricardo do?

“Ricardo explores his surroundings by climbing trees and hopping up and down on benches, or he sneaks around unnoticed, crouching in corners or peering from around doorways,” Sprorock says.

Ricardo is not afraid of humans. Nor should he be.

“That’s because this monkey is a wild animal and the humans don’t feel threatened by him,” Sprorock says.

Ricardo is one of several large primates currently residing at DAWL. Jandir is a Western lowland gorilla, weighing about 400 pounds and standing nearly 7 feet tall. Another male, Kaweli, is a species of rhesus monkey weighing around 30 pounds. Jandir is pregnant. The three currently housed there are all part of a genetic line from Tanzania and were abandoned when their native habitat was abandoned.

• Update, Nov. 10, 2018: Three years later, all six monkeys at the shelter are now up for adoption. Click on the image below to learn more.

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