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The Year of the Monkey just started, but already, this was no easy start for primates. According to an article in The Guardian, online photos and videos portraying Pygmy marmosets, also known as “thumbnail monkeys” because of their small size, are fueling the popularity of the animals as trend pets. Due to demand, the illegal trade of these animals is escalating.

Pygmy marmosets are the world’s smallest monkeys. They are native to South American rainforests, where they live in small groups of around a dozen individuals, and they do not fare well in captivity. Despite this, China’s wealthy elite, are purchasing these animals for about $4,500 each to keep as pets in their homes, According to The American Journal of Primatology, Pygmies were the second-most trafficked primate species (squirrel monkeys were the first), accounting for 13 percent of the primates the research team found for sale as pets and bushmeat at Peruvian markets. According to the International Union for Conservation and Nature, their population numbers are in decline due to the illegal pet trade.

While these monkeys are completely adorable, the journey that they, and other animals, endure in the wildlife trade is anything but cute. Most are stolen as infants and confined in cages. On the trip to their destination, they’re subject to starvation, harsh weather conditions, injuries, and illness. Most animals sold as exotic pets never even make it to their intended buyers. In fact, biologists found that around 70 percent of traded exotic animals die at the wholesaler!

The trade in Marmosets has become a particular problem in China, but the exotic pet industry runs rampant worldwide. Slow lorises are marketed as children’s pets (after their venomous teeth are removed), birds have been reported to have their beaks taped shut for transport, and sealed plastic pillows containing live turtles, fish, and amphibians are reportedly sold as trinkets, and perhaps most shockingly, there are currently more tigers living in U.S. backyards than in the wild. Clearly there is something wrong here.

While these animals are cute, it’s absolutely critical that we don’t encourage the illegal wildlife trade by viewing these living beings as pets. They all exist to play a role in their individual ecosystems and removing them for the sake of our entertainment or amusement is not only cruel, it’s irresponsible. No matter how hard we try, we can never recreate the environment or life that wild animals would enjoy in their natural setting.  The next time you see a video of an exotic animal being kept as a pet, think twice before liking or sharing it. Instead, share photos and videos of these incredible wild animals running free in the wild, where they belong.

Lead image source: Bobby Yip/Reuters



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17 comments on “These Monkeys are Cute – But if We Keep Capturing Them to be Pets, They’ll Disappear Forever”

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Justice Ganado Chappell
5 Months Ago

Amen


Reply
Daniel Heinrich
5 Months Ago

Bill Rohland Austin Gage Mike Shess Patrick Cordelle looks like what that dbag had


Reply
Daniel Heinrich
5 Months Ago

Bill Rohland Austin Gage Mike Shess Patrick Cordelle looks like what that dbag had


Reply
Meg McMahon
5 Months Ago

Parrots, Fennec Fixes, Hedgehogs, etc etc etc


Reply
Denise Wilson
5 Months Ago

Everyone thinks they are cute, and they are. Everyone wants one.. right up until they feel the expense of the special food day in and day out, finding a vet skilled in their needs and that expense and the fulfilling the every day needs of a wild animal. Leave them to their homes and their real families. How very sad to live without someone just like you... a solitary life.


Reply
Denise Wilson
27 Feb 2016

And many states require special licenses... perhaps we should start there and revoke the right to have one.

Janett Mcconville
5 Months Ago

idiot humans..i learned in grade school that some animals are domestic and the rest are WILD ,,,these monkeys are WILD and should be left that way.... humans are idiots


Reply
Marina Sadry
5 Months Ago

Gimel Hines seriously????


Reply
Valerie Dunton
5 Months Ago

THAT is not 'cute'... Heebie-jeebies...


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Samantha Chism
5 Months Ago

Scott Glinke :)


Reply
Danny Cutting
5 Months Ago

Have you learned nothing? Wild creatures are losing ground because of people who "want one". Leave them alone in nature! Please!


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