I’m afraid I must confess to having visited the “evil side” of the primate pet trade. I believed I needed a monkey for “education” when I first opened my facility. I also assumed that I would need an infant in order to properly nurture and train him.
I didn’t give much attention to the chain of events that would lead up to the time I got control of the small monkey, so I contacted a dealer I located in Animal Finders Guide. They advertised that they had newborn primates for sale. I wanted a capuchin, thinking they’d be simple to get and reasonably priced.
So, guess what? He didn’t have any capuchin monkeys, but he did have a newborn female patas monkey. She was discovered at a breeder’s home in South Texas. I had no idea what a patas monkey was and inquired whether she would make a suitable educational animal. He reassured me that she would. I looked her up in a primate book and discovered she was native to Kenya, so I felt she’d be good in our environment. My mind wasn’t working on all cylinders.
Anyway, I made plans to meet the breeder/dealer at a convenience shop somewhere near his house. He appears with a small monkey that is barely 7 days old. He was wrapping her in a towel and carrying a baby bottle. “You know how to feed a monkey, right?” he said. This was the most we ever spoke to one other. I informed him that I did, and I gave him the cash as instructed by the man. It felt like a drug transaction.
The infant wailed the whole three-hour journey home. I couldn’t believe that this small critter the size of a Barbie doll had such a large lung capacity. But I couldn’t hold her while driving, so I decided to press the pedal to the metal and get home as soon as possible.
When I returned home, I brought her into my room, shut the door, and prepared a bottle for her. She flew out of the carrier and attempted to hide behind the bed’s covers. I snatched her and attempted to feed her. I felt she had to be hungry since it had been at least 4 hours since her previous meal. She, on the other hand, refused to accept the bottle. I’d reared enough orphan deer fawns to know that this newborn had never been bottle-fed. My mind began to work again, and it occurred to me that this guy had snatched the baby from her mother just before I arrived at the shop!
Mabel (the name we gave her) didn’t take her bottle, and she went out cold!
I was terrified! I phoned the veterinarian and made an appointment. She awoke just as we were about to go for the vet. She gave me a glance, didn’t scream, and accepted the bottle. Needless to say, we kept the appointment nevertheless. That’s a good thing, since she was infested with intestinal parasites when she was only a week old! According to the vet, this means that the mother is likewise infested with worms. I was furious! How could someone sell, much alone breed, an ill animal?
Mabel became my “aha” moment monkey. When she opened her eyes, I transformed into this breeder’s worst fear. I conducted some research and discovered that the jerk was not even licensed. It’s no surprise he didn’t want me to see his place. But since I was USDA certified, I phoned my inspector, who was delighted to hear the news because they were hunting for him. He appeared to have bonobo chimps and other animals. Long story short, he got in a lot of difficulty and will never be able to acquire a driver’s license again. Personally, I hope he has a nice case of internal parasites. It’s only fair.
Mable never created an educational animal. She has two former pet patas monkey pals who are all She Devils. It’s not their fault. I guess I should retract my statement that Mabel is an education animal. She is a living example of why primates should not be kept as pets! And that the primate trade is tainted with filth.
I’m doing my best right now to atone for my mistakes.