Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

VICTORY Owl monkey capture ended

Posted: 25 February 2014. Updated: 7 May 2014

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The cruel practice of trapping wild owl monkeys for use in experiments has been prohibited by Colombia’s Council of State. This spells the end of the trapping operation run by Manuel Elkin Patarroyo at the Institute of Immunology Foundation of Colombia (FIDIC) – saving the lives of 4,000 monkeys who would have been torn from the wild and used for malaria vaccine research.

ADI investigators exposed the brutal trapping operation in 2009. By night, the trappers searched the forests for the owl monkeys; they netted the trees and the tiny monkeys, unable to escape, were snatched from their homes; terrified and screaming, they were pushed into sacks and taken up river to the laboratory. Inside FIDIC, the monkeys were kept inside tiny, barren metal cages, a shocking contrast to their native forest homes.

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On November 29th, the Council of State ratified a decision taken in 2012 by the local tribunal in Cundinamarca, which had ruled that the research on owl monkeys breached Colombia’s commitment to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). However, the decision by the Council of State now formalises the ruling and means that FIDIC will be prevented from catching wild monkeys from across the vast Amazon basin.

Announcing the prohibition, Magistrate Enrique Gil said that it was “essential that humans change the paradigm in their view of animals” and that “for the Colombian legislator, animals and plants, in the form of forests etc, are subject to rights and therefore anyone can request their protection via public action as an overseer of these beings”.

For years, ADI has campaigned to stop the capture of wild owl monkeys, hosting public awareness activities and screening our Save the Primates film – featuring our undercover footage of the monkey trappers – in the Colombian Congress. For the tribunal in Cundinamarca ADI submitted evidence, alongside researcher Angela Maldonado, Project Director of Fundacion Entropika, whose ADI-funded educational and census work with local communities reduced the hunting of owl monkeys in the Amazon.

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