Saved from Pet Trade, Baby Monkey Now Has a Buddy

Woolly monkey returns to his rainforest home.

monkeys holding hands
Fausto, left, with baby Chaska.

Animal Defenders International

 A tiny orphan monkey now has a buddy.

Chaska, a baby woolly monkey, was rescued from the pet trade in Peru and brought to a wildlife sanctuary in the Amazon rainforest.

The animal was removed from the forest and her mother by wildlife traffickers and then sold in the city as a pet. The young monkey’s name means “bright star” in the Quechua language, the indigenous language of the Incas.

Animal Defenders International (ADI), which works with animal welfare and conservation issues, joined with Peru’s wildlife department to remove the monkey and take it to safety.

The journey was a long one.

After a thorough checkup and veterinary care, the team loaded Chaska in a truck, traveling 275 miles and 12 hours, even driving in the water to cross a river. Next was a 630-mile trip via airplane, and finally, they took the last leg by boat.

The rescuers arrived with the monkey at Pilpintuwasi, a wildlife rescue center in the Amazon rainforest in Peru. The nonprofit is focused on protecting animals affected by the illegal wildlife trade. They work with ADI to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate wildlife, if possible.

The center is on about 50 acres near Padre Cocha in northern Peru on the Nanay River. It’s home to about 20 species including jaguars, ocelots, parrots, and many types of monkeys and butterflies.

Monkeys Become Friends

When considering Chaska’s story, rescuers from ADI thought of Fausto, a monkey that was rescued as a baby from a restaurant in Peru. Fausto was living at the Pilpintuwasi facility alone after his companion died.

ADI raised funds to build an enclosure so the two monkeys could be introduced and meet safely. When they showed interest in each other and were accustomed to being nearby, the door was opened between them.

Chaska was so excited. She tugged on Fausto’s arms and body and touched his face, obviously happy to be near him. Although Fausto is full grown and much larger than Chaska, he was gentle with her and seemed to enjoy having her there.

“Every now and again there is a touching and inspiring story to lift us up and keep us focused on the changes we make in the world,” Jan Creamer, president of ADI, said in a statement. “Sometimes these stories or moments are major legislation to outlaw cruelty and suffering, or the story of an individual life we have changed forever.”

About Woolly Monkeys

baby monkey resting

Animal Defenders International

Woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagothricha) are classified as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with their population numbers decreasing. They are often hunted and trapped and they also face habitat loss due to development and agriculture.

The monkeys typically live in large, complex social groups. They typically eat, sleep, and travel together. Young monkeys start to become independent around 5 months old.

Creamer said, “Escapes like Chaska’s always bring us hope and light, knowing that we can win and take another step towards a better world for animals.”

View Article Sources
  1. "A Monkey's Miracle." Animal Defense International, 2022.

  2. "About Us." Pilpintuwasi.

  3. "Common Woolly Monkey." IUCN Red List.

  4. "Lagothrix lagotricha Humboldt's Woolly Monkey." Animal Diversity Web.