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Yet another whistle blown on illegal monkeys in pet shops

posted on 17/06/2005: 2553 views

Only two hours after receiving a tip-off from an alert dedicated teacher from one of the Emirate's private schools, staff of the UAE CITES Management Authority at the Federal Environment Agency (FEA) raided a pet shop in Al Ain and confiscated a Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) which was being sold illegally and without the proper documentation.

Interestingly, these species of monkeys were the first primates to be rocketed into space! CITES in the UAE encourages members of the public to alert the authorities if they suspect any pet shop is trading species in an illegal manner. The Rhesus monkeys are classified as Lower Risk by the 2000 IUCN Red List.

After the specimen was confiscated, pet shop attendants were handed a letter declaring that they had violated Article No. 27 of Federal Law No. 11 for the year 2002 on Regulating and Controlling International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. They were guilty of displaying to the public an endangered species with no accompanying CITES certificate or registration by the FEA, which is the CITES Management Authority in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Article No. 27 of the law states that any person having in their possession or under their control, or selling or offering for sale or display to the public, any specimen of species listed in the Appendices without carrying out the necessary registration provided by assigned authorities, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, and/or a fine of not less than five thousand dirhams but not to exceed thirty thousand dirhams.

Rhesus monkeys prefer forest habitats, including semi-desert, dry, deciduous, bamboo, and tropical woodland up to 3000m. They live in Afghanistan, India, Thailand and Southern China. They are diurnal, which means they spend a significant proportion of their time on the ground.

CITES has been focusing on confiscating illegal monkeys because they may pose a health risk to humans. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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