Monday 9 December, 2019

Monkeys for sale? Conservationist warns would-be buyers

photo: © Quentin Questel

photo: © Quentin Questel

Monkeys are not pets.

Conservationist and director of the El Socorro Centre for Wildlife Conservation, Ricardo Meade, emphasised this in a public social media post.

Meade said aside from the illegality issue, monkeys are not domesticated and can bite, scratch and otherwise harm owners.  

Meade made the statement after sharing a photo of a Facebook post showing monkeys for sale.

“Take a read of this add which was posted in a pet group here in Trinidad and Tobago. The illegality of this is another story altogether. Let’s deal with the demand side of this equation.”

“The ECWC has about 10 monkeys in our care. All given up when they became too aggressive for their owners to handle. Monkeys do not make good pets! It is akin to locking up a 6-year-old human child on a cage,” he said.

Meade showed photos of a volunteer’s hand with bite and scratch marks from the monkeys they were trying to rehabilitate.

Every one of our volunteer monkey mothers who assist in fostering these primates get attacked and bitten regularly.”

“Look at the other pictures in the set showing some injuries sustained from monkey attacks. They bite, they scratch and use objects to harm you.”

Meade said supporting the illegal wildlife trade results in the destruction of their family structure and the ecosystem.

“They also do not belong by themselves. They are social creatures and have a complex family structure. Why would you want to lock up such an animal? Because of your demand these guys go and kill monkeys in a foreign country and smuggle them here.”

“So please stop buying monkeys and the slaughter in their homeland will also stop. Give your kid a Lego for Christmas. Show your humanity this holiday season,” he said. 

Monkeys are often killed by poachers and their babies taken to be sold as pets. Several animals have been seized after being brought illegally into the country from South America. 

Earlier this year, requests were made to have the Red Howler monkey and Capuchin monkey declared Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS).

If approved, anyone caught harming these animals or negatively impacting their habitats could be subject to a fine of $100,000 or two years imprisonment.

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