Singer Chris Brown faces six months in jail after buying a capuchin monkey for his daughter’s Christmas present in 2017.
Brown, 29, shared a video of his daughter playing with the baby monkey, which he named Fiji, in December 2017. In response, the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) pleaded with the entertainer to surrender the monkey to a wildlife sanctuary.
“We can help you place your monkey at an accredited primate sanctuary where he can enjoy a healthy life with others of his own kind,” NAPSA wrote to Brown in December 2017. “This would be the next best thing to life in the wild. Please use this opportunity to teach your daughter and your fans that respecting animals is more important than owning them.”
The video then landed in front of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which found that Brown did not have a permit to own the animal.
Fiji was seized by wildlife agents in January 2018 and taken to a sanctuary in northern California. Now nearly a year later, Brown is facing criminal charges for obtaining the monkey illegally, and NAPSA is quick to point out, this is only one of many similar cases that occur each year in the United States.
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According to the Mercury News, capuchins can become increasingly aggressive or self-harming as they get older, especially when not allowed enough room to thrive, or if they are abused. The illegal trade of wild animals is a $10 billion-a-year industry, and in each case, obtaining these animals is often a heartbreaking and inhumane process.
“Breeders don’t tell customers that infant monkeys sold as pets are ripped from their mothers years before they would naturally separate,” NAPSA program director Erika Fleury told The Dodo. “[This] causes them harm throughout the rest of the unnatural and unhealthy lives they lead in human homes. Primates can never be domesticated … I field calls weekly from owners of monkeys who wish to relinquish their poorly considered ‘pet.’ Keeping a primate in a human home is never a good idea.”
Capuchin monkeys are native to Central and South America, and are illegal to import, transport or possess in California without a permit issued by the state Fish and Wildlife Department.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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