The past, present, and future of the primate pet trade


Pet primates are those kept typically for companionship, enjoyment, and status, although their uses as pets may extend beyond these parameters. The trade in pet primates is historically rooted, with many primates playing important roles in human cultures and religions. Thus, it is not surprising that current sociocultural trends reveal an ongoing fascination with primates and their purchase as status pets. Recent reports from various regions are presented in this chapter, demonstrating the need for drastic interventions to avoid further losses. Capture of animals for the pet trade may be intentional or opportunistic and is often exacerbated by internet trade and social media. This situation is complicated by the difficulty of obtaining accurate numbers of primates bought and sold illegally. The health and welfare of primates captured or kept as pets is another area of great concern. Long-term solutions will require attention from governmental, professional, and public actors on local and international levels.


Alexander, S. D., Waters, S., Aldrich, B. C., Shanee, S., Clarke, T. A., Radford, L. Hansen, M. F., Gnanaolivu, S. D., Dempsey, A. 2023. The past, present, and future of the primate pet trade. In: McKinney, T., Waters, S., Rodrigues, M. A. (Eds.), Primates in Anthropogenic Landscapes. Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. Springer, Cham.

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