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Woman wants to adopt baby monkey found by her dog

2012/05/22 21:28:40

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) A woman in Yilan County, whose dog found a baby Formosan rock-monkey a month ago, took the monkey to the county's Animal and Plant Disease Center for a health check Tuesday, saying she wants to adopt it.

She has already applied to the county Agriculture Department for permission to adopt the rock-monkey, an endemic species in Taiwan, she said.

Kuo Tzu-ming, a staff member at department's division of animal conservation affairs, said Lee's application can be regarded as a special case.

Rock-monkeys are born to live in groups, he said, adding that if the monkey is released into wild rather than raised as a pet, it may not be able to survive because monkey tribes do not easily accept outsiders.

The baby monkey is being cared for by Lee Huai-chen, a karaoke lounge owner in Suao whose dog found it and carried it to her husband's work shack in a hillside village in Yilan about a month ago.

Lee said the monkey appeared to be a newborn, about 20 cm in height.

After releasing it from the dog's jaws, Lee found that the tiny head was covered in blood from several wounds. Lee said she has been taking care of the baby monkey since then.

"I've changed diapers, fed it bottles of milk formula, and put it to sleep next to my bed," she told CNA.

"We all call it Rockie," Lee said, explaining that the little monkey would fall asleep to rock music at the karaoke lounge and wake up when the music stops.

After learning the protected species can carry contagious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), she decided to take it the quarantine center for a health check, she said.

However, she said she is worried that if the monkey is found to have TB, it will be given "humanitarian treatment," which means euthanasia.

She is also worried her adoption application won't be accepted because of the wildlife protection law, she said.

The Wildlife Conservation Act prohibits hunting, raising or breeding protected wildlife, unless under special circumstances recognized in the act or related legislation.

Kuo speculated that Rockie had been abandoned by his mother. If Lee is not allowed to adopt the monkey, it will be taken to an animal shelter, he said.

He stressed that adoption of injured protected animals is rarely permitted. Most injured wild animals that are rescued are usually released into the wild after they recover, he said.

He said Lee's adoption application will require an evaluation of her home as well as an assessment of her knowledge of the species and her willingness to raise the animal.

(By Worthy Shen and Elizabeth Hsu)