Guest Blogger, Paul Reynolds (Wildfutures.org)
Wild Futures and the Primate Pet Trade
Wild Futures is a UK registered charity founded upon almost five decades of experience as a leader in the field of primate welfare and conservation, education, and sustainable practice. We are committed to protecting primates and habitats worldwide, with our UK flagship project “The Monkey Sanctuary” housing monkeys rescued from the primate pet trade and other abusive captive situations. The Monkey Sanctuary is the only GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries) accredited sanctuary in Europe and we are also one of the founding members of EARS (European Alliance of Rescue Centres and Sanctuaries).
The Monkey Sanctuary (picture below) © Wild Futures
Our primary focus at Wild Futures is to protect primates and one of our main methods for achieving this is through education. Our education program raises awareness of the serious conservation and welfare implications for victims of the primate pet trade and other issues affecting primates worldwide. Some of the monkeys at our Sanctuary were born in the wild and through both legal and illegal means, have ended up as pets in Europe. Kodak the capuchin (see photo below), started his life in the rainforest and probably witnessed his family group shot. He then found himself transported across the globe to Greece where he was kept in a photo shop, until his owner realised he needed to be with others of his own kind. He is now the alpha male of his own group at our Sanctuary.
Kodak (picture below) © Wild Futures
We estimate with the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that there are at least 7,000 privately owned primates in the UK, with further evidence suggesting it is far higher and there are signs that the primate pet trade is on the increase. Our Sanctuary witnesses the damage caused by this trade every day. Of the 37 monkeys residing at our Sanctuary, many of them display serious physical and psychological problems resulting from their time kept as pets. Our campaign work has led to much advancement, including political recognition that the trade in primates as pets is an issue within the UK, the publication of the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Privately Kept Non-Human Primates (to be used in conjunction with the Animal Welfare Act 2006) and strong public support, which has resulted in a parliament led committee discussing the UK Primate Pet Trade.
We are always looking for volunteers to come and stay at the sanctuary and help us to care for the monkeys and for dedicated people to volunteer as ambassadors and help raise awareness about the issues surrounding the trade and use of primates.
We are working hard to protect primates and their habitats worldwide and strive for the day when all monkeys are free from the threat of the pet trade, free from malnutrition, mental, physical and emotional suffering.
Mario the Barbary Macaque (picture below) © Wild Futures
By Paul Michael Reynolds MSc, Education Officer and Primate Keeper
Paul Reynolds started off at Wild Futures as a volunteer after completing his MSc in 2010, he swiftly advanced to become a primate keeper intern and then entered his current role as Education Officer. He is driven and committed to ending the exploitation of primates for any purpose. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Paul talking about Maya the Woolly Monkey