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A family of nine spider monkeys, including two babies, were saved from an illegal zoo and returned to their natural home, the rainforest.

Source: ADI TV/Youtube

With help from Animal Defenders International (ADI), Taricaya Ecological Reserve, Peru’s Wildlife Department, and SERFOR, the monkeys were rescued from the zoo in eastern Peru and returned to the wild. The monkeys were trapped and trafficked to the zoo, where they were forced to live in tiny cages and entertain visitors.

In a video of the rescue, the team can be seen performing pre-release health checks at the zoo before they carefully moved every animal into travel crates. The animals were taken by boat along the Madre de Dios River in the Peruvian rainforest. They were taken to the Taricaya Ecological Reserve, which provides sanctuary for animals that can not return to the wild. The monkeys were unloaded then a team carried them a mile and a half into the forest, where they were set free and will be monitored. The monkeys seem so happy to be climbing trees and being back in nature.

Jan Creamer, President of ADI said, “This is a wonderful happy result for this family of spider monkeys, but also another victory in Peru’s fight against the wildlife trade. There is a special sense of joy and achievement to be able to return these intelligent, social and loving animals to their homes. Sadly, sometimes that is not possible when the animals are brutally deprived of teeth, claws and other means of gathering food and defending themselves by the cowards who capture them. ADI is caring for bears, monkeys and other animals who need to be cared for in enclosed forest habitats as they cannot fend for themselves. We wish these nine individuals happy, long lives of freedom.”

Taking these animals from the wild for our enjoyment is driving them toward extinction, which not only eliminates a species but puts others in danger by disrupting delicate ecosystems. Exotic animals belong in the wild, there’s no way an animal can be happy while being stuck alone in a cage for endless hours.

We love cute animals as much as the next person, but it’s important to remember wild animals belong in the wild, not in our backyards, houses, or cages. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is working to combat the illegal trafficking of wild animals and animal parts across the globe, but there are a few simple things we can do here at home to help the cause.

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