Nearly one hundred monkeys were found in an abandoned house in Thailand’s Saraburi Province, where the animals are believed to have been kept by wildlife traffickers.
Channel News Asia reports that on 17 February, Wirom Wanalee, a resident of central Thailand, went with several of her neighbors to investigate strange sounds in a nearby home.
The concerned neighbors found nearly one hundred live monkeys in the abandoned residence, where the animals had been confined to sealed bags.
The group of neighbors opened many of the bags, releasing the majority of the monkeys. The group then called the police, who turned the remaining monkeys over to officers of the parks department, who brought the rest of the animals to a quarantine center for wildlife.
The illegal trading of wildlife is not only an environmental and ethical issue but a health issue as well.
According to the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the lucrative and illegal trafficking of wildlife, which is the fourth largest criminal activity globally, is a major source of new human diseases.
Meanwhile, UN reports suggest that Covid-19 initially caused a drop in the number of trafficked animals due to border closings and more awareness of the relationship between illegal wildlife and disease.
However, with travel restrictions beginning to loosen, the number of illegally trafficked animals is once again on the rise, especially in Southeast Asia, one of the world’s most species-diverse regions.
Wildlife Trafficking Remains Problematic for Laos
Poaching and wildlife trafficking remain problematic for Laos, despite an order issued by the Prime Minister of Laos in 2018 on the management and inspection of prohibited wild fauna and flora.
The order was issued to tighten the implementation of forest plant and wildlife protection, especially those species which are classified as endangered.
But in December last year, authorities in northern Laos seized and destroyed over 200 kilograms of wildlife parts that had been openly on sale at fresh markets.
Some merchants have been found openly advertising animals and animal parts across social media channels, with a large trade known to occur on Tencent’s WeChat.
According to the Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife, residents of Laos who encounter illegal wildlife in captivity or on sale should record the animals with photos, note the animals’ exact location, and report the incident as soon as possible to the hotline number 1601, which operates in English and Lao languages.