Where Do Baby Monkeys Come From?

Bonnie and Bailey

In the wild, baby monkeys are obtained by killing the mother monkey. In captivity, the baby monkeys are stolen right off the mothers' backs. The babies are "pulled" as early as three days old to a few weeks old to be sold as "pets". It is not hard to imagine the horror both baby and mother must feel during this forced separation. It can take months for the grief stricken mother to come out of a depression brought on by this thievery, some never recover and there are always scars left from such cruelty. In captivity, capuchin monkeys can live beyond forty years and can become pregnant every year throughout their long life.

In the wild, baby capuchins are dependent upon their mothers for several years. Bailey, pictured at right with his mother Bonnie, was two years old before he stopped nursing. Bonnie and Bailey are both residents of Jungle Friends; Bailey was the result of a failed vasectomy and Bonnie was a breeder for the exotic pet trade, having baby after baby stolen from her arms. Bonnie is an incredible mother to Bailey.

Where Do Baby Monkeys Go?

The baby is usually placed on an inanimate object, such as a stuffed animal or blanket, to act as a surrogate mother. This is not only psychologically damaging, but also does not allow for the baby's physiology to develop properly--possibly resulting in atrophied muscles and bone disease. Most of the babies develop aberrant behaviors such as rocking, self-grasping, digit sucking and self-mutilation.

The baby monkeys are usually shipped in baggage on airlines all over the world; many do not even arrive at their destination alive. If the baby lives through this, they find their way into the hearts and homes of many unsuspecting humans.

Unfortunately, once the monkey reaches sexual maturity, if not before, the appeal of this precocious and explosive "pet" is usually long gone. The lucky ones end up in sanctuaries to live out their lives, but sadly most do not. Zoos usually will not take in former "pet" monkeys because they are too "humanized" and do not act like monkeys. Most end up being bounced around all of their lives, sold and resold. This once precious "pet" may well end up as a breeder or in a research laboratory. Former "pet" monkeys are found in the most appalling situations!