All mothers are great. They put up with our cheeky behaviours and nurture us when we are unwell. This mother’s day (6th March 2016) occurs during the year of the monkey. Which is why, I will explore, celebrate and attempt to truly understand these wonderful mothers.
Capuchin monkeys (Cebus sp.) are South American primates. These intelligent and charming monkeys have been recorded to use tools and even show cultural differences between neighbouring groups.
Capuchin mothers are attentive and caring. Newborns are totally dependent on their mothers who will carry them on their backs (pictured) until the baby is old enough to explore. Even then, the infant will initially make short trips, carefully discovering the world, coming back to the mother each time. During the first two years the mother will take care of her child with little help from the father. Some capuchin mothers will share caring duties amongst each other.
Unfortunately, many infants will be captured by poachers looking to make a quick profit, taken away and sold into to the pet trade before they can even forage for themselves. Whilst many countries deem this trade illegal, the lack of a definite ban for keeping primates as pets, allows “breeders” to sell monkeys into the pet trade. It is difficult to trace the origins of the monkeys sold into the pet trade and many are still being smuggled into the country illegally.
As “pets” these adorable primates will be dressed in baby clothes, forced to wear diapers and fed human diets. And all this stress, abuse and a complete misunderstanding of the needs that the animal will endure is all because someone said “I want one”.
Think about the angst of the mother when her baby is ripped from her arms. No mother should feel this way. Do not support keeping primates as pets.