Stowaway monkeys moved from lab, found new home

Photo: Stichting Aap
Photo: Stichting Aap

Five wild monkeys found on board a container ship heading for Rotterdam port in 2014 finally have a permanent home with the primate charity Stichting Aap in Almere.

The five crab-eating macaques, all male, are carriers for the herpes virus and the need to keep them in isolation has proved a problem in finding a suitable home, the foundation said on its website.

The primates have been living in separate cages at a laboratory in Rijswijk, giving rise to fears that they could be used for experiments. Despite assurances that the monkeys would not be experimented on, the pro-animal PvdD has waged a campaign to have them rehoused.

The monkeys cannot be taken to a zoo because of the herpes and Malaysia has refused to take them back. The five have now been reunited at a special fenced-off area at the Stichting Aap’s reserve.

The macaques were caught by the ship’s crew in August 2014 and handed over to the foundation when the Maersk freighter arrived in the Netherlands. The foundation has always said it is willing to look after them.

The crab-eating macaque is regarded as one of the world’s 100 most invasive alien species because it is so adaptable and a generalist feeder. The males can reach up to 55 cm in length.

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