31/08/2006

South American monkey seized in Craigavon

A South American tamarin monkey has been seized from a housing estate in County Armagh.

Officers from the USPCA were assisted by police in recovering the cotton top tamarin from a private house in the Legahory area of Craigavon.

The monkey is native to the Colombian rainforests and has become an endangered species as a result of the illegal pet trade and deforestation.

Stephen Philpott from the USPCA said that keeping any wild animal in the confines of a family home will cause the creature stress and result in psychological damage, and added that the USPCA would hope to see this animal assimilated into a group of other tamarins within a proper sanctuary.

Mr Philpott continued: "The USPCA have being saying for a long time now that the Dangerous Wild Animals Act needs to be applied to Northern Ireland as a matter of extreme urgency.

"It's not just from a public safety point of view, it's an animal welfare point of view as well.”

He concluded by saying that a license is required to keep a dog in Northern Ireland, however anyone can keep a tiger, a puma, or a tamarin monkey without having to answer to anybody.

(EF/KMcA)

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