The RSPCA has called for a total ban on keeping monkeys as pets
A baby monkey has been rescued from its “miserable” life after it was kept in a cage at a residential property in Essex.
O marmoset, which had been named TikTok after the social media app, was only a few months old. He had been prematurely taken away from his parents to be kept as an exotic pet in the town of Grays – according to the RSPCA.
Primates need to live in groups. Marmosets, unlike many other monkey species, usually pair-up in monogamous relationships for life. But sadly TikTok was found depressed and kept alone in a parrot cage with no social stimulation.
He has been taken in at the Monkey World sanctuary in Dorset and has been adopted by an adult pair of marmosets called Clydie and Ronnie, who spend hours grooming and playing with him.
“The baby is now being doted on by both adoptive parents,” the RSPCA rescue charity said.
A housing officer who visited the property in Essex in June reported that the baby monkey was being kept as an exotic pet in terrible conditions to the RSPCA.
RSPCA inspector Jack Taylor said: “I was shocked by the conditions this poor boy was living in. He was living a miserable life, left all alone in a parrot cage with none of his essential needs being met.
“Just like humans, primates can become depressed without adequate stimulation.
"Tristemente, inspectors like me are still seeing shocking situations where monkeys are cooped up in bird cages, fed fast food, sugary drinks or even Class A drugs, living in dirt and squalor and suffering from disease.”
Marmosets originate from the rainforests of South America, and are the most common monkeys in the pet trade.
They usually eat tree sap and gum, as well as fruit, flowers, seeds, insects, spiders, frogs and lizards.
Marmosets can live up to 17 years in the wild, but their life expectancy in captivity is drastically shortened to a maximum of seven years.
Até 5,000 primates are being kept outside of licenced zoos in the UK, the government estimates.
Marmosets are the most commonly held primates in the UK, with capuchins, squirrel monkeys, lemurs and tamarins also among the most common species.
The RSPCA has called for a complete ban on the trading and keeping of primates as pets.
Monkey World, where TikTok was rehomed, has taken in more than 100 primates from the UK pet trade, and has a waiting list of more than 100.
The sanctuary’s director Dr Alison Cronin has called for stricter laws to prevent the abuse and neglect of the animals, as there has been a “dramatic increase” in the numbers of primates being rescued recently.
She has also said that primates often “arrive at the park malnourished, with rickets, mobility problems and psychologically damaged as a result of living in solitary confinement, inside people’s houses.”
In December, the government launched a consultation over proposals to completely outlaw the keeping of monkeys as pets unless they are kept in “zoo-like” conditions.
Em maio, the government promised in the Queen’s Speech that the UK will be a “global leader” on animal welfare. It pledged to introduce a raft of legislation including on the banning of primates being kept as pets.