Scoot, pictured above, is only one of five rare Mantled Howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) known to be in captivity in the United States. As an infant, Scoot and Toot (another infant mantled howler monkey) were sold to an unwitting buyer at a San Antonio, Texas Flea Market. Scoot and Toot are now residents at Primarily Primates sanctuary.
Under the US Endangered Species Act, wildlife belonging to endangered species cannot legally be sold between states. Animals can be donated or exchanged but sale is not permitted without a permit obtained from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Endangered animals can only be sold within a state; for example, a Florida dealer can sell an orangutan to a private party in Florida but not to a buyer in New York.
Several primate species listed on the US Endangered Species List are nonetheless found being kept as pets. Among them are cottontop tamarins, Diana monkeys, lemurs, and gibbons. While many of these animals may have been legally obtained, it is likely that money changes hands in some cases. Unfortunately it is impossible for private individuals to investigate such transactions, which often involve cash payments.
The USFWS Division of Law Enforcement is charged with enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. The agency has many well-trained undercover agents who can infiltrate animal dealing networks. This technique has led to many successful prosecutions. IPPL believes that the USFWS could bring an end to most sales of endangered primates as pets. Unfortunately the agency has no mandate to handle cases involving non-endangered species.
Please send a letter requesting that USFWS investigate the pet trade involving cottontop tamarins, Diana monkeys, lemurs, gibbons, and all endangered primates, to
Kevin Adams, Chief
Division of Law Enforcement
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Arlington, VA 22203 USA