A man in Jette commune in Brussels has been arrested after trying to sell a monkey on the second-hand website 2dehands.be.
The arrest took place earlier this month, police have revealed. The man was offering the monkey, a red-handed or Midas tamarin, for 3,800 euros.
The tamarin is a New World monkey, an excellent climber which lives mainly in the branches and vines of the forests of Brazil, Suriname, Guyana and French Guyana. The adult grows to a maximum of about 28cm not counting the tail, which adds another 16cm. The monkey weighs up to 500g.
The alarm was raised by a visitor to the French version of the site, who later cooperated with police to send the seller a message expressing an interest and making an appointment to meet.
On the day the seller, together with the tamarin and three other men, turned up for the meeting, when he was arrested and the monkey taken into custody. “The animal was in a kind of cat basket, and was in good health,” police spokesperson Johan Berckmans told Het Laatste Nieuws.
The tamarin was taken to the animal refuge Veeweyde in Anderlecht, from where it was transferred to the nature centre in Opglabbeek in Limburg province.
“As far as we can tell, the animal is healthy, the centre’s Frederik Thoelen assured the paper. “We will have to carry out a number of tests, and the animal will anyway have to spend three months with us in quarantine.”
The investigation into the seller and any confederates continues. The red-handed tamarin is not an endangered species, but trade in this country is subject to strict conditions.