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.
I was shocked to learn that 1,600 or more night monkeys are annually captured and sold for $50 per animal to the FIDIC, Immunology Institute of Colombia Foundation for use in malaria studies. Dr. Manuel Elkin Patarroyo has conducted the experiments for years without oversight or rehabilitation plans. Some monkeys, sick and frail, are thrown back into jungle.
The research itself has proven largely futile, with no cure for malaria in sight. Nocturnal primates, induced with malaria inside a stressful laboratory setting, cannot produce clinical symptoms or data relevant to human disease processes.
Clearly, this trade is inhumane, with utter disregard for native primate populations. FIDIC primate sales support poor Peruvian and Brazilian natives just across the Amazon River. Rather than turn a blind eye, governments ought to support the work of primate conservationists like Angela Maldonado, recipient of the 2010 Whitley Fund For Nature’s “Green Oscar,” for her efforts to find legitimate livelihoods for the Tikuna tribe.
Please let your country's authorities know that citizens worldwide strongly object to the black market trade in night monkeys.