AR-News: Mona monkey smuggler caught red-handed

Shirley McGreal smcgreal at
Sun Oct 12 12:39:10 EDT 2003

 From the British newspaper Daily Express, Saturday 11 October 2003, with 
several photos.

EVIL BEYOND:  Horror at apes smuggled in hand luggage on flight

By  John Ingham and Tom Morgan

             A smuggler engaged in the evil trade in rare animals picked 
the wrong person to sit next to on a flight from West Africa.
             The woman in the neighbouring seat was British researcher Sara 
Laub --- and she caught the man red-handed after hearing squeaks coming 
from his hand luggage.
             Sara, who was working for the International Primate Protection 
League, found he was carrying two baby monkeys in a brown paper bag.
             The youngsters were held in two cylinders barely four inches 
across whose ends were covered by wire mesh.  Just six hours into an 
11-hour journey the bag stank and the monkeys were desperately thirsty.
             The highly sociable Mona monkeys, whose mothers had almost 
certainly been shot for food, kept each other company by reaching out 
through the mesh and patting one another.
             Sara, who was on a two-leg flight from the West African island 
of Sao Tome to Lisbon via Cape Verde, had to battle with the authorities to 
get action.
             The monkeys were eventually taken to Lisbon Zoo where one, 
which the IPPL named Menino, the Portugese word for infant, has since died.
             The charity has now set up Menino's Fund to raise money to 
help victims of the trade in baby monkeys.
             Sara, of Ickford, Bucks, who had spent a month in Sao Tome 
studying the plight of the Mona monkeys, said:  "I don't think this was the 
first incident of smuggling.  There was no X-ray and hand luggage wasn't 
checked.  Anything could have boarded that plane.
             "Other rare species may be being traded such as the grey 
parrot.  It was a complete coincidence, fate or good luck that I sat next 
to this man."
             After alerting stewards, Sara gave the monkeys water from a 
spoon.  She said: "They were about five to seven months old and were being 
kept in terrible conditions."  They were almost certainly destined to 
become pets.
             The IPPL, which supports ape and monkey rescue projects 
throughout Africa, will use Menino's Fund to provide victims of the pet 
trade with a happy future with their own species.

To help the IPPL please call 020 8297 2129, e-mail them at 
<mailto:enquiries at>enquiries at or write to 166 Gilmore 
Road, London SE13 5AE.

Shirley McGreal, Chairwoman, International Primate Protection League
POB 766 Summerville SC 29484 USA
Phone: 843-871-2280 Fax: 843-871-7988
E-mail: smcgreal at, web:
Visit IPPL's award-winning web site: <>

"Choose a job you like and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Confucius, 551-479 BC

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