UAE expat selling monkeys on social media angers residents

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Dubai - The 20-year-old expat claimed he was selling the animals for his friend.

By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Wed 14 Aug 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 16 Aug 2019, 8:43 AM

A social media post where an Arab expat is advertising two baby monkeys for sale has angered netizens, especially since the trade of wild animals is banned in the UAE.
The advertisement was posted in a private Facebook group, however, a woman took a screenshot and re-posted it on an animal welfare page, causing outrage among social media users.
"Help, how do I report this - someone is selling monkeys in UAE," the woman said, which included a screenshot of the original post that had a photo of two young monkeys in a cage, as well as a mobile number of the man carrying out the sale. She later deleted her post, though, it had already racked up several comments from angry residents.
Khaleej Times called the number to learn that it was a 20-year-old expat who claimed he was selling the animals for his friend.
"It is Dh3,500 per monkey," he said. "They are indoor breed and they belong to my friend. They are Macaque monkeys."

The man added that he was meant to get a "small commission" off the sale, however, claimed he was unaware that the sale of wild animals was illegal in the country.
The UAE banned the ownership and trade of wild animals in 2016, according to Federal Law No 22. Anyone found guilty of breaking the law can be sentenced to a heavy prison term and fines of up to Dh500,000.
Even though laws are in place, violators have shifted to social media to carry out the illegal activity.
"This (selling wild animals) is very common on Instagram," the Arab man added. "There are people selling bears, wolves and hyenas also."
Sarita Harding, an animal activist in the UAE, said that monkeys are not domesticated and belong in the wild.
"People have no idea where these monkeys are coming from - there's no guarantee. Are they healthy? Are they safe? They're wild animals," Harding, who is a volunteer at animal welfare group Animal Action, said. "The laws are in place and there have been cases where violators were prosecuted, but some people still get away with it, especially those doing it on social media. But, there have been improvements."
Khaleej Times reported last year that UAE authorities seized nearly 400 ornamental birds that are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

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