The mysterious island in South Carolina which is off limits to visitors but home to 4,000


An island off the coast of South Carolina is causing a stir, with its population of 4,000-plus wild monkeys.

Morgan Island sits around 80 miles south of Charleston and the 4,489-acre outcrop consists of a mix of creeks, marshland and high ground strewn with mature trees and palms. 

On TikTok, videos taken from passing boats offer a glimpse of what the mysterious island is like, with troops of monkeys running riot and signs on the sandy shoreline warning ‘do not feed, approach, disturb, molest, or injure the animals.’

The signs also note that ‘violators will be prosecuted.’  

The rhesus monkeys aren’t native to the island, and 1,400 were shipped there in 1979 following a herpes outbreak at a primate research center in Puerto Rico. 

An island off the coast of South Carolina is causing a stir, with its population of 4,000-plus wild monkeys

An island off the coast of South Carolina is causing a stir, with its population of 4,000-plus wild monkeys

Morgan Island sits around 80 miles south of Charleston and the 4,489-acre outcrop consists of a mix of creeks, marshland and high ground strewn with mature trees and palm trees

Morgan Island sits around 80 miles south of Charleston and the 4,489-acre outcrop consists of a mix of creeks, marshland and high ground strewn with mature trees and palm trees

The rhesus monkeys aren't native to the island, and 1,400 were shipped there in 1979 following a herpes outbreak at a primate research center in Puerto Rico

The rhesus monkeys aren’t native to the island, and 1,400 were shipped there in 1979 following a herpes outbreak at a primate research center in Puerto Rico

While the island is owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the colony is managed by the federal National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

While the island is owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the colony is managed by the federal National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

@daretogotravel

Morgan Island is Forbidden For Visitors 🐒 Where is a forbidden place you would like to visit? Morgan Island is a 4,489-acre marshland island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is also known as Monkey Island due to its colony of free-ranging rhesus monkeys, established in 1979. The island is uninhabited, and the only people allowed on the island are researchers who tag the monkeys, and take 500 per year from their home for medical testing. #Travel #Learning #Educational #Animals #Adventure The monkeys were brought to Morgan Island after a herpes B virus outbreak at a research facility in Puerto Rico. The island was chosen because it is isolated and has a similar climate to Puerto Rico. The monkeys have thrived on the island, and their population has grown to over 4,000. The monkeys on Morgan Island are used for a variety of medical research, including studies on vaccines, polio, AIDS, and bioterrorism. The research is important for developing new treatments and vaccines for these diseases. The island is off-limits to the public, and there are strict regulations in place to protect the monkeys. Visitors are not allowed to set foot on the island, and boats are not allowed to come within 500 yards of the shore. Morgan Island is a unique and important place. The monkeys on the island are helping to advance medical research, and they deserve to be protected. Here are some additional facts about Morgan Island: The island is located in the ACE Basin, a protected estuary that is home to a variety of wildlife. The monkeys on Morgan Island are Indian-origin rhesus monkeys, which are a type of Old World monkey. The monkeys are free-ranging, which means they are not kept in cages. They live in the forests and marshes on the island. The monkeys are monitored by researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The monkeys are used for a variety of medical research, including studies on vaccines, polio, AIDS, and bioterrorism. The island is off-limits to the public, and there are strict regulations in place to protect the monkeys.

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Since then, the colony has grown but numbers have been largely contained due to the fact that up to 600 monkeys are taken away each year for animal testing purposes. 

According to the Post and Courier, ‘no testing is done on the island itself’ and ‘instead, monkeys are sent to researchers working on vaccines and medical treatments.’ 

While the island is owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the colony is managed by the federal National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

A private company is hired for the actual care of the animals, with this contract worth several million dollars a year. 

Members of the public are forbidden from stepping foot on the island and it is only accessible to trained researchers. 

But for those who wish to get close to the island, there are several outfitters running boat tours, with the route running around the periphery. 

Low Country Tidal Tours runs a Morgan Island tour for $250 plus gratuity and it says it is one of their most requested trips. 

The tour company notes: ‘Morgan Island itself has a fascinating story and seeing rhesus monkeys in the low country landscape is nothing short of surreal.’ 

Members of the public are forbidden from stepping foot on the island and it is only accessible to trained researchers

Members of the public are forbidden from stepping foot on the island and it is only accessible to trained researchers

For those who wish to get close to the island, there are several outfitters running boat tours, with the route running around the periphery

For those who wish to get close to the island, there are several outfitters running boat tours, with the route running around the periphery

A private company is hired for the actual care of the animals, with this contract worth several million dollars a year

A private company is hired for the actual care of the animals, with this contract worth several million dollars a year

To date, the tour has been deemed as ‘excellent’ by all reviewers on Tripadvisor

One tourist wrote: ‘We took a trip to Morgan Island to see the monkeys. Great trip, lots of monkeys.’

Another happy customer echoed similar sentiments, writing: ‘My wife and I were celebrating our 30th anniversary. 

‘We heard about Monkey Island a few years ago and have been trying to see the monkeys. 

‘Captain Scott was simply amazing. He set the date and time, took us to monkey island, shut the boat off and dropped anchor. 

‘Within 10-15 minutes, monkeys came out of nowhere and in another 10-15 minutes there were dozens of monkeys all around us. It was a memory we will never forget.’

Drone footage uploaded by one Low Country Tidal Tours passenger reveals that there is a jetty on the island for researchers to dock at.

There are also several outbuildings for conducting routine veterinary care and storing necessary supplies. 

Along with boat tours, several helicopter companies in the area offer trips circling Morgan Island, so passengers can get a bird’s eye view of the monkeys swinging in the trees below.



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