An animal charity has launched an urgent appeal to rescue a number of tiny marmoset monkeys from conditions of abuse and neglect in the primate pet trade.
Wild Futures needs to raise £60,000 to build a dedicated facility at The Monkey Sanctuary, near Looe, where the monkeys will be offered specialist intensive care and attention to help them recover from the trauma they have suffered.
An estimated 5,000 primates are kept as pets in the UK and Wild Futures say the numbers of calls they receive concerning pet marmoset monkeys are on the increase. The charity has long been campaigning to end the UK primate pet trade and say that these tiny, tropical monkeys are the most common victims of inappropriate care. Monkey breeders are known to snatch them from their mothers as infants to sell them as pets for up to £1200. A lack of knowledge about their specialised needs often leads to serious physically and psychological suffering. Millie and Speedy are just two of many marmosets the charity has recently been asked to help; their stories are heart-breaking.
Speedy’s owner was working overseas and didn’t want him anymore. He was living in a small, empty birdcage, in a cold, noisy warehouse on an industrial estate, with just a scrap of cloth on the floor of his cage to sleep on. All alone, an inappropriate diet of banana custard led to a life-threatening episode of hyperglycemia.
Millie’s owners moved out of rented accommodation, leaving Millie and other pets behind. She was living on her own in a small cage in a windowless, draughty hallway of a house; denied access to UV light, which is essential for healthy bones. She was overweight due to a poor diet and lack of exercise.
Speedy and Millie were rescued by Wild Futures and taken to safety, but stories like theirs are common and the charity does not currently have the facilities house marmosets at their Sanctuary.
Marmoset monkeys are an intelligent, social species that naturally live in extended family groups in the rainforests of Brazil. Sadly, they are exploited as pets worldwide.
The £60,000 target will build a brand new complex of spacious indoor and outdoor enclosures to accommodate rescued marmosets in social groups. The complex will offer a stimulating three-dimensional environment with natural vegetation, branches, ropes, platforms and hiding places to allow them to express natural behaviours. Previously lonely, isolated monkeys will be able to spend their days socialising with others of their own kind.
Primate Keeper Kim Nicholson, said: “We urgently need to raise the funds to be able to build a new facility to offer marmosets a home at our Sanctuary. We receive many calls to take them, so we know that they are out there and they desperately need rescuing. Due to a lack of re-homing space here in the UK, we fear that these individuals are often sold on, to continue a life of suffering in the pet trade. We are asking for people to pledge their support and make a donation, which really will change the lives of these tiny monkeys.”
Wild Futures recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary and has taken in dozens of monkeys over the years; many rescued from conditions of abuse and neglect in the primate pet trade. Each individual has been socialised with other monkeys and now live in spacious, natural enclosures at The Monkey Sanctuary. With public support they hope to do the same for the marmosets.
Kim added: “Every penny counts and there are many ways to get involved with this special appeal. You can even hold your own fundraising event independently or at work or school to raise money for the marmosets- and don’t forget to spread the word! The more people that hear Speedy and Millie’s stories and the plight of others like them in the UK primate pet trade, the better.”
Please help Wild Futures give marmoset monkeys a second chance at life by contributing towards their appeal. Thank you.
To donate, visit www.wildfutures.org/marmoset-appeal or text RESC01 and the amount you want to give (e.g. RESC01 £20) to 70070. Call 01503 262532 for more information or to get involved.