On July 5, an Administrative Court in Colombia revoked the permits of noted malaria researcher Dr. Manuel Elkin Patarroyo. These permits, originally valid until 2015, would have allowed him to acquire as many as 4,000 night monkeys for his jungle laboratory, the Institute of Immunology Foundation of Colombia (FIDIC).

Night monkeys have been used as models for malaria research in Colombia (photo: International Primate Protection League)

Angela Maldonado

who has been studying New World monkeys in the wild for nearly 15 years, discovered that lab officials at FIDIC had persuaded the poor native people of Peru and Brazil—just across the Amazon River from Patarroyo’s facility—to capture night monkeys and transport them across the unguarded border.

Angela Maldonado just won a major legal victory for Colombia’s night monkeys (IPPL)

The local people probably didn’t know that they could be violating an international treaty (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES) by engaging in cross-border trade in a night monkey species, Aotus nancymaae, that is not native to Colombia.

Unscrupulous Science

According to evidence uncovered by Maldonado’s grassroots organization Fundación Entropika, the FIDIC had, for several decades, been rounding up at least 1,600 wild night monkeys a year for Dr. Patarroyo’s studies, then tossing them—often sick and weak from their lab experiences—right back into the Colombian jungle with no rehabilitation plan or environmental controls.

Night monkeys from Dr. Patarroyo’s lab, after they’ve been experimented on, are allegedly just thrown back into the forest. (Photo: © Fundación Entropika)

The judge ruled that the Colombian Ministry of Environment and the Corporation for the Sustainable Development of Southern Amazonia (CORPOAMAZONIA), which were responsible for monitoring FIDIC, had instead colluded with the lab in this inhumane and ecologically destructive travesty since 1984.

Source: “A legal Victory for night monkeys,” IPPL newsletter July 18, 2012.