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4,000 wild monkeys saved from laboratory experiments

Colombia: Animal Defenders International (ADI) has described the decision by the Administrative Tribunal of Cundinamarca to revoke permits to capture wild owl monkeys for malaria experiments as a 'breakthrough for animal protection and conservation'. The Tribunal ruled that research on owl (night) monkeys, by Manuel Elkin Patarroyo, breached Colombia's commitment to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

The permits, planned to run until 2015, would have allowed Patarroyo to trap 4,000 primates for experiments related to malaria vaccine at the Institute of Immunology Foundation of Colombia (FIDIC).

ADI undercover investigators secured video footage of the laboratory's monkey trapping operation along the Amazon. The ADI video shows trappers searching the forests by night for owl monkeys; the trees netted and the tiny monkeys, unable to escape, are torn from their homes; terrified and screaming, they are pushed into sacks for the journey up river to the laboratory. The team also filmed inside FIDIC where the monkeys are kept inside tiny barren, metal cages, a shocking contrast to their native forest homes.

Jan Creamer, ADI Chief Executive said: 'We are delighted that the Tribunal has taken decisive action, preventing the horrific suffering of thousands of monkeys and the potential devastation of wild populations. We hope that the next step will be to end these cruel experiments once and for all.'

In the ruling, the Tribunal criticised the Ministry of Environment for failing to exercise controls concerning the hunting and scientific study of primates. It further stated that because import permits for owl monkeys of the species Aotus nancymae were not required, this fuelled a trade for these primates, in contravention of CITES regulations.

The Tribunal found that there had also been a number of anomalies in permissions granted to Patarroyo dating back to 1984, which included irregularities in permit procedures and breach of obligations and prohibitions of Colombia's National Resources Code.

As a result of the Tribunal, disciplinary action against officials at the Ministry of Environment is now being initiated. FIDIC and the Corporation for Sustainable Development of Southern Amazonia (Corpoamazonia) were also sanctioned.

Researcher Angela Maldonado, lawyer Gabriel Vanegas and ADI submitted evidence to the tribunal; Angela is Project Director of Fundacion Entropika, whose educational and census work with local communities, with ADI funding, has reduced the hunting of owl monkeys in the Amazon. The unique work by ADI undercover investigators and Angela's study team has assisted her work in the region to protect owl monkeys.

Find out more:

ADI investigation into South American monkey trade

On the trail of the owl monkey trappers http://www.ad-international.org/publications/go.php?id=1587&si=98

Save the Primates video -- the owl monkey trapping and research footage can be found at 3:40-5:05 http://www.savetheprimates.org/videos/20

Animal Defenders International

Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP

Tel: 020 7630 3340

www.ad-international.org

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