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Aug 28, 2018 @ 19:59

DENR: Don’t cage monkeys

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Calabarzon Regional Office on Tuesday vowed to prosecute any person who kept monkeys as this is breach of environmental and wildlife laws.

DENR Calabarzon Director Maria Paz G. Luna has discouraged the keeping of monkeys after a photo of the monkey that was kept at a cage in a church patio went viral.

“We will start prosecuting those who keep them,” Luna said, in a stern warning to those who are still keeping or are planning to keep monkeys without the necessary permits from the environment and natural resources agency.

Asked on the posted photos and pleas by netizens on a Facebook account that circulated on social media, Luna underscored “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 DENR’s future plans.

According to the DENR Calabarzon-Regional Strategic Communication and Initiatives Section (RSCIS), a public plea of a concerned citizen that was posted on Facebook went viral.

The DENR Calabarzon traced the account to that of a netizen Ric (not his real name), who shared to various animal welfare groups photos of a seemingly ill-treated monkey caged within the compound of St. Gregory Parish Church in Indang, Cavite.

The DENR Calabarzon Facebook page was subsequently flooded with messages from netizens on Aug. 22, 2018 which relayed the concerned netizen’s appeal requesting that the “forgotten monkey” be rescued.

This prompted the DENR-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)-Cavite personnel to rush to the said place to investigate and found out that a private individual intentionally brought the monkey to Rev. Father Alex P. Tupas some two years ago for custody and safekeeping.

Elegia Tulio, chief of the Compliance Monitoring Unit of PENRO-Cavite, said the monkey was surrendered to Tupas since its previous keeper was about to return 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 after the PENRO investigation.

Tulio said that contrary to the Facebook post that the monkey has nothing to eat whenever the church closes, “the monkey was properly cared for and well-maintained, including the facility, contradictory to the post in social media.”

The DENR personnel identified the monkey as a long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), a wild animal belonging to the category of “Other Threatened Species” per DENR Administrative Order No. 2004-15.

The environment and natural resources agency also pointed to the monkey’s listing under the “Least Concern” based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

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

The DENR intervention resulted in the prelate monkey-keeper agreeing to voluntarily surrender the monkey to the DENR Calabarzon Wildlife Rescue Center which is slated on Wednesday, Aug. 29.

Luna also clarified that “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 said. (PNA)


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