(WILDLIFE) Keeping a monkey as a pet in your house may be frowned upon by most animal rights’ groups, but what if that monkey has lived in the home for almost 40 years? Should he be taken away? That’s what’s happening to a capuchin monkey named Chico. Brazilian police seized him from his home of 37 years because it’s illegal to keep wild animals as pets in Brazil. However, unlike Justin Beiber, this family is fighting to keep their monkey. Read on for more on Chico’s story and tell us what you think. Should the law prevail or is this an example of where the needs of the many doesn’t outweigh the needs of the few? — Global Animal
Chico, capuchin monkey like pictured above, taken away from the only family he's known. lPhoto credit: Tina Lapointe via Flickr
Chico, a capuchin monkey like the one pictured above, was taken away from the only family he’s known. lPhoto credit: Tina Lapointe via Flickr

AP, Jenny Barchfield

RIO DE JANEIRO — When two police officers tore little Chico from the arms of Elizete Carmona, they said it was for his own good. After all, 71-year-old women aren’t meant to live with endangered tufted capuchin monkeys.

But the case has upset many in Brazil, where thousands of people have signed an online petition calling on Sao Paulo state environmental officials to return Chico to the only home he’s known for the past 37 years.

It’s illegal to keep wild animals as pets in Brazil, especially those classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species, as the tufted capuchin monkey has been.

But the Carmona family contends Chico is completely domesticated and might not survive the stress of separation.

When the officers came to their house in the city of San Carlos on Saturday, Chico grabbed onto Carmona and hugged her tight, one of the woman’s sons, Everaldo Furlan, told the Globo television network.

Carmona said she was devastated when he was pulled away.

“I don’t know if I will be able to bear it,” she told Globo. “For me, I’ve lost a son. They’ve taken my son away.”

Multiple calls to Sao Paulo’s environmental police went unanswered on Monday and officials at the Sao Carlos City Hall said they were unable to comment on the case. There was no listing for a Carmona family phone.

The Carmonas adopted Chico in 1976, decades before a 1998 law that banned the acquisition and possession of wild animals.

Chico was brought from central Brazil by a truck driver, who gave it away after the monkey bit one of his children.

“The father wanted to kill the monkey. His wife intervened and because she liked me, she ended up giving him to me,” Carmona told Globo earlier this year. “I started taking care of him. He never once bit me.”

The cat-sized monkey, with expressive, honey-colored eyes, golden fur and a black Mohawk atop his head, liked to spend most of his waking hours outside in the yard he shared with a pet cat and chicken, relaxing beneath a shady tree or atop a little plywood monkey house.

Saturday’s removal followed warning letters from state and federal authorities dating back 20 years, Globo’s G1 internet portal quotes Carmona as saying, though the family insisted it had been issued special permission to keep Chico.

While the life expectancy of capuchin monkeys is around 15 years in the wild, in captivity they have been known to live three times as long. Chico’s exact age is not known, but he must be at least 37.

Globo said Chico was been taken to an animal protection area around 185 miles (300 kilometers) from the family home in Sao Carlos.

The Carmona family still holds out hope of getting Chico back. More than 4,000 people have signed a petition on the website “Peticao Publica” calling on the environmental police to return Chico according to G1.

More Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/chico-monkey_n_3707950.html