The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Response to What to Do About a Hotel with a Chained Monkey in Laos

I recently responded to a question about what to do about a Hotel in Laos with a baby monkey on a chain. Thankfully this is much less common than it used to be in Vietnam, but in rural areas I see it a lot--especially in minority villages. Below is my answer... what do you think?
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It is sad but unfortunately very common. I would like to suggest that publicizing it and explaining to others why its bad and why they might not want to stay at a place with captive wild animals is much better than turning the businesses into environmental orgs sometimes--especially zoos.

Monkeys are stolen from their mothers, usually as infants. Sometimes their mothers--or other monkeys in the troupe--are killed in the process. Quite often here in Vietnam, pet monkeys only have one arm because they lose the other in a snare. As monkeys get older they assert their own will and make very bad pets for anyone except highly skilled specialists. Further, catching these guys in the wild has decimated wild populations and will cause the extinction for many remaining primates over the next century.

However, their life in most zoos here will absolutely SUCK. Further, most zoos and environmental orgs are over-run with macaques and won't take them. Police/Forest rangers who are assigned with the task of releasing animals can't always be trusted to do so. More often than not they re-sell them on the black market or have an after-hours BBQ.

It's a lose-lose situation, but I think publicizing it does more good than anything.

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