Monkeys as pets
We regularly receive worried e-mails about monkeys that are treated poorly. People are touched by seeing a monkey in a cage or on a chain. In the worst case, they buy monkeys with good intentions in markets in Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan. Unfortunately, supply and demand is created in this way: for every monkey sold, two babies are caught in the wild. After a while they find out that they don't have the knowledge to take care of a monkey and they call in our help.
We offered that help for years, but in 2019 Wildlife Watchdogs decided to stop this. From the Sumatra Wildlife Center we now tackle the source: smugglers. Keeping certain monkeys, such as macaques, is not punishable. Trading, smuggling and catching is. We have established a good relationship with the national police. Together we have already performed dozens of seizures. This gives us the confidence that we are on the right track. Together with four K9 dogs we look for traded monkeys on the most important smuggling routes between Sumatra and Java.
The smugglers are often young men trying to earn money and hoping for a better life for their family. Handing out penalties without explaining to them the consequences of their actions would be unwise. That is why we also spend time on education and we devise alternative ways to make money. In this way, someone can hopefully contribute positively to the maintenance of his family after serving a sentence.