They’re little. Cute. Wide-eyed. And each year, more than a thousand are stolen from Amazon jungles in Colombia. “Night monkeys” sell for $50 a head because acclaimed malaria researcher, Dr. Manuel Elkin Patarroyo, thinks the nocturnal primates are ideal models for experimentation. Patarroyo directs FIDIC, the Immunology Institute of Colombia Foundation, a facility that pays poor Peruvian and Brazilian natives just across the Amazon River to trap and illegally move night monkeys over unguarded borders. At least 1600 are annually sold for malaria research, even though experimenters are no closer to finding a cure
Peru, Brazil and Colombia have turned a blind eye on the illicit night monkey trade because of its financial incentive for indigenous tribes. Ask ambassadors at Peruvian, Brazilian and Colombian embassies (in your country) to pressure national/local authorities to sponsor alternative livelihoods for their people and protect native wildlife.