Some rich Chinese are spending significant amounts of money on expensive miniature monkeys. The thumb-sized pygmy marmoset is the perfect Chinese New Year gift for the Year of the Monkey if it wasn’t for these undeniable facts: it is cruel and illegal to keep these wild animals captive.
These monkeys, considered the world’s smallest and dubbed by locals as “thumb monkeys,” can be had in China for up to 30,000 yuan ($4,559). While the act is prohibited by law, wealthy Chinese have found ways to procure the endangered animal native in the western Amazon Basin rainforests in South America, reports the People’s Daily (via Shanghaiist).
“Snow leopards and red-crowned cranes have nothing on my New Year’s gift. Please meet Xiao Shen,” posts a jewelry store owner surnamed Chen on Chinese social site Weibo.
“Buying and selling are certainly not legal,” one official told People’s Daily. “More than one governmental body is supervising this.”
Aside from the illegality and the cruel nature of this new fad, safety should also be of concern since introducing new species to a foreign environment poses definite health and environmental risks.