DENR warns to prosecute illegal monkey keepers


DENR Warns to Prosecute Illegal Monkey Keepers



 In merely hours, a public plea of a concerned citizen on Facebook went viral. Ric, not his real name, posted to the Facebook pages of various animal welfare groups photos of a seemingly ill-treated monkey caged within the compound of St. Gregory Parish in Indang, Cavite.

 On August 22, 2018, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON Facebook page was flooded with messages from netizens, relaying Ric’s appeal and requesting that the “forgotten monkey” be rescued.

 Immediately, some personnel from the DENR-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Cavite rushed to the monkey’s location to investigate. The investigating team found out that a private individual intentionally brought the reported animal to the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Alex P. Tupas, 2 years ago for custody and safe keeping.

 Elegia Tulio, the Chief, Compliance Monitoring Unit of PENRO, Cavite said the monkey was surrendered to Tupas as its previous keeper was about to go back to his province in Mindanao.

 “As per observation, the monkey is healthy and playful. Traces are present in her waist because of the improvised belt made of plastic hose and chain,” Tulio said. “The monkey was properly cared and well-maintained including the facility, contradictory to the post…in social media,” she added.

 In his posts, Ric alleged that the monkey has nothing to eat whenever the church closes.

 The monkey, identified as Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), is a wild animal which belongs to the category “Other Threatened Species” as per DENR Administrative Order No. 2004-15, and “Least Concern” based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

 The wildlife also falls within the category Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), indicating that the species is “not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival”.

 Tupas agreed to voluntarily surrender the monkey to the DENR CALABARZON Wildlife Rescue Center. The turnover was scheduled on August 29, 2018.

 DENR CALABARZON Director, Atty. Maria Paz G. Luna strongly discourages the keeping of monkeys, saying that their release would be too dangerous.

 “We will start prosecuting those who keep them,” Luna said as a warning to those who are still keeping or are planning to keep monkeys without necessary permits.

 With the circulating issue, she said “our take there is we are for wildlife conservation.”

 “We will work with private keepers of endangered and critically endangered animals so there is technology transfer to us, and so we can work with them on release programs to help conservation,” she said, sharing the department’s future plans.

 “Zoos can be useful in that way, instead of encouraging others to keep pets and showcase animals they cannot care for properly, the message from zoos should be to conserve ex situ [protect animals outside its natural habitat] so that we can repopulate protected habitats,” she stressed.###