Cornwall charity to build new home for abused marmosets
A charity is appealing for funds to build a rescue facility for abused and neglected marmoset monkeys kept as pets in the UK.
The centre, at The Monkey Sanctuary in Looe, South East Cornwall, will offer the monkeys specialist care and attention to help them recover from the trauma they have suffered.
It is estimated that there are 5,000 primates kept as pets in the UK, with the charity Wild Futures receiving an increasing number of calls concerning pet marmosets.
Wild Futures has long been campaigning to end the primate pet trade in the country and say the tiny, tropical monkeys are the most common victims of inappropriate care.
The charity claims monkey breeders have been known to snatch infants from their mothers to sell them as pets for up to £1,200.
A lack of knowledge about their specialised needs often leads to serious physical and psychological suffering, it says.
“We urgently need to raise the funds to be able to build a new facility to offer marmosets a home at our Sanctuary,” said Kim Nicholson, primate keeper.
“We receive many calls to take them, so we know that they are out there and they desperately need rescuing.
“Due to a lack of re-homing space here in the UK, we fear that these individuals are often sold on, to continue a life of suffering in the pet trade.
“We are asking for people to pledge their support and make a donation, which really will change the lives of these tiny monkeys.”
The charity recently brought two marmosets, named Millie and Speedy, to safety.
Speedy’s owner was working overseas and left the monkey in a small, empty birdcage in a warehouse on an industrial estate.
He had a scrap of cloth on the floor of his cage to sleep on and was fed a diet of banana custard, which led to a life-threatening episode of hyperglycaemia.
Millie’s owners moved out of rented accommodation, leaving Millie and other pets behind.
She was living on her own in a small cage in a windowless, draughty hallway and denied access to UV light – essential for healthy bones.
Millie was overweight due to a poor diet and a lack of exercise.
Marmoset monkeys are an intelligent, social species that naturally live in extended family groups in the rainforests of Brazil.
The £60,000 facility will involve a brand new complex of spacious indoor and outdoor enclosures to accommodate rescued marmosets in social groups.
There will be a stimulating three-dimensional environment, with natural vegetation, branches, ropes, platforms and hiding places.
Previously lonely, isolated monkeys will be able to spend their days socialising with others of their own kind.
For more information visit www.wildfutures.org/marmoset-appeal