March 4, 2005

Right to Name New Monkey Sells for $650G

NEW YORK (AP) -- The right to name a new species of monkey sold Thursday for $650,000 in an online auction, with the funds going to protect the Bolivian habitat where the species lives, the Web site that handled the sale said.

The winning bidder, who outbid Ellen DeGeneres, chose to remain anonymous for now, said Kelly Fiore, director of business development for the New York-based auction venue, Charity Folks.

There was no immediate information on what the winner planned to name the species, but an announcement might be made later, Fiore said.

The new monkey name will have to conform with the rules of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the organization that ensures every animal has a unique and universally accepted scientific name.

The species of titi monkey - which is about a foot tall and has a brown body, a golden crown, orange cheeks and a white-tipped tail - was discovered by a Wildlife Conservation Society scientist in Madidi National Park in Bolivia last year, the conservation society said. The term "titi monkey" describes about 30 species of monkeys found in South America.

The proceeds of the auction were to be given to Bolivia's park service to help protect Madidi and the many animals that live there. The conservation society said it was overjoyed.

"The Internet just became a safety net for this monkey and Madidi National Park," Wildlife Conservation Society president Steven Sanderson said in a statement.

Talk show host DeGeneres donated an outfit and several pairs of sneakers for separate auctions, whose proceeds then were pooled into a bid to name the monkey. The money raised by her auctions still will go to support Madidi, said Michelle Gross, a spokeswoman for her show.

Charity Folks didn't charge a commission on the monkey name auction.


On the Net:

Wildlife Conservation Society: http://www.wcs.org

Charity Folks: http://www.charityfolks.com