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Pet Trade

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Prosimians make up a large percentage of the estimated 15,000 primates in the U.S. found in personal possession as pets, roadside attractions, entertainers, or photographic props.

Primates are not pets

Prosimians and other primates are wild animals, not pets! Wild animals do not become domesticated by simply keeping them in human environments. Domestication of a species occurs over thousands of years. Keeping primates in personal possession poses serious risks to animal welfare, public health and safety, and conservation.

  • Prosimians, like all primates, require specialized professional husbandry in order to thrive in human care. Their health, behavioral, social, environmental, and nutritional needs are next to impossible to fulfill in personal possession settings. When not provided appropriate care, they suffer psychological, behavioral, and/or physical damage, often including self-injurious or stereotypic behavior and social skill deficits.

  • Wild animals like prosimians have natural instincts that lead to unpredictable and uncontrollable aggression as adults. They can inflict serious injuries, often even on their primary caretakers. Serious diseases can be transmitted between humans and non-human primates, even prosimians.

  • Inappropriate use of prosimians and other primates undermines the important work of conservationists trying to save species from extinction in the wild!

Although they are beautiful animals, lemurs do not make good pets. "Primates are wild animals whose natural behaviors are incompatible with life as a pet in someone’s home." says Cathy Liss, President of the Animal Welfare Institute. "The Captive Primate Safety Act" is legislation that would protect humans from these unnecessary risks and primates from mistreatment

How You Can Impact the Pet Trade

Did you know that you can impact the pet trade? Help prosimians and other endangered primates who have been negatively affected by the pet trade by becoming a sponsor for a resident at the Prosimian Sanctuary or become an advocate to help speak out against the pet trade.

Stifle the misconception that lemurs and other primates are acceptable pets by how you interact with content on social media. If a photo or video depicting primates as pets or companions comes across your social media feed, do not share it, like it or comment on it. This type of content increases public interest in the pet trade. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has advised scientists, students, conservationists, and caretakers to stop publishing images that depict themselves in close contact with nonhuman primates.

To learn more about the pet trade and how you can help, email or call 904-860-0899.

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