Twinkie Talks

9th June 2010

I am VERY lucky to be living here at Monkeyland because like other primates, wild squirrel monkeys face habitat destruction from human abuse of the (south American) forests they live in. All the wild-living squirrel monkeys are threatened by advancing agriculture, logging, and the expansion of human settlements.

 

Throughout the World squirrel monkeys are also used heavily in captive research (Only Rhesus monkeys are used more than squirrel monkeys). Squirrel monkeys are also one of the most popular primates to be kept as pets. 

 

Before I came to live at Monkeyland I was one of those ‘pet’ monkeys.  Often such ‘pet’ monkeys are captured illegally and smuggled to domestic and foreign markets. My mum was caught in the wild and then exported to South Africa.  I was sold off to some random person just about straight after I was born. I was with my human ‘mum’ for about 3 years before she sold me to some other people, but lucky for me, the people who bought me brought me to Monkeyland (and left me here) when I was about 8 years old.

 

Squirrel monkeys are meant to be wild animals. We can and will bite, defecate, and destroy human property at will if we are ‘pets’. When us ‘pet’ primates develop these negative behaviours, we often become unwanted and homeless. Some monkey owners even have their ‘pets’ put down.  Monkeyland does not condone the keeping of primates as pets. Please be a part of spreading this message and help us change the general attitude towards the primate pet trade.

 

If you know someone with a pet monkey, let us know if you’d like us to chat to the person about its care, needs and so forth.  My English is not that great – I only ‘speak’ squirrel, so you will need to send the email to Christian (one of the primate curators) at Monkeyland curator@monkeyland.co.za

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