Friday, May 19, 2006

Monkey rescued from captivity repatriated to India

By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia
19 May 2006

A young rhesus macaque of Indian origin, smuggled probably by animal traders to Singapore, finally went home on Friday.

The monkey, named Asha, was held as an exotic pet before she was rescued from captivity by animal activists in 2004.

Louis Ng, Executive Director of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, said: "When we first found Asha, she was chained up just outside the warehouse area. So it was in pretty horrible condition. There wasn't much shelter from the sun or the rain and also she was really fat, which means lack of exercise because they chained her up with quite a short leash."

Zoo officials estimate Asha to be about 15 years old, which would make her middle-aged.

Asha has been living in the zoo for the past 20 months while letters and appeals flew back and forth to find her a permanent home.

She finally headed to the Wildlife SOS Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in New Delhi on Friday.

Mr Ng said: "Wildlife SOS will be doing the reintegration. They will introduce her to another rhesus macaque and see if she recognises and, maybe, they start to touch each other.....but it's a very long process because in the past few years she has never seen another monkey and it will take some time for her to recognise that this is actually her own kind." - CNA/ir

Rest assured, the thai government has yet to attempt to repatriate this monkey back to singapore. Nonetheless, this is good PR on ACRES side but repatriating a middle-aged monkey may not be the most effective. Most of the time, these repatriated immigrants do not adapt to the wild and continue to live in "captivity". Sort of like the prostitutes who get saved from the "evil crutches" of the human traffickers, only to return back to the trade willingly. Perhaps there are more consequences associated with repatriation than with captivity. We cannot only act on addressing the problems we see but pre-empting the problem before we can even SEE them! Definitely have to apply the precautionary principle here and do as the chinese say, "pull up the roots when removing grass". I am sure they are also doing their best as well to stop demand on this side of consumer-intensive singapore. All the best ACRES!

PS: Did you recognize Asha? The monkey is famous! She is the covergirl of ACRES on many publicity material that you can even see on the MRT trains!

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