Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Saturday, 6 February 2010

Three pet capuchins for Cornwall Monkey Sanctuary

Rescued capuchins
The capuchins' socialisation with other primates could take months or years

An animal sanctuary in Cornwall has given a new home to three rescued pet monkeys.

The black-capped capuchins, native to the South American rain forests, were all born in the UK for the pet trade.

The former owner contacted the Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary, near Looe, when she realised she could not look after the capuchins properly.

The sanctuary said it will be several weeks before Gizzie, Grips and Kiwi are introduced to other residents.

The three capuchins, who were previously kept in converted dog kennels in Essex, will be given a home for life at the sanctuary.

Code of practice

Petra Osterberg, from the primate welfare team, said: "Very rarely do we find anyone who has the time, skills or knowledge to care for monkeys appropriately.

"The new arrivals are already booked in at the vets for a thorough medical examination which will help us to identify any potential or current health issues quickly, though we obviously hope that all three come out with a clean bill of health."

She said the socialisation process could take months, or even years, to achieve successfully, but the aim was to allow the primates to lead a "full and interesting life".

Wild Futures, which has campaigned to end the primates-as-pets trade, said a code of practice for "privately-kept non-human primates" by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was a positive move towards a change in UK law.

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