90 spider monkeys co-exist in a sanctuary inside a large system of cages where they can move freely.
It is located in the Mayan Forest of Quintana Roo, near Playa del Carmen. These monkeys would be sentenced to death if they were released in the jungle, which is supposed to be their habitat, where they should live safely.
Each of the 90 monkeys suffered some kind of mistreatment and was kept captive in private homes, restaurants, hotels, workshops and even zoos. All of them were victims of illegal trafficking and thanks to Joel and his wife Heidi, they have been able to return to the jungle.
They were rescued by activists and the authorities responsible for protecting the environment.
Ignacio Millán, Deputy Prosecutor of PROFEPA, said: “The monkey is so used to human treatment that it is sometimes more complicated to try to reintroduce it to the natural environment because we are almost sending the animal to its death, since it does not know how to survive on its own, nor knows how to associate with a pack. ”
The activist Leon Behar said: “They do not even know that they are monkeys, they are afraid of the other monkeys, the sounds, the wind, the birds, it is surprising to see how lost they get.”
Paola Plaza recounted the day her dad told her that they had adopted a spider monkey. “I know it’s an endangered species and having it is not easy, it’s not like carrying a dog,” he said.
The adoption of Justin was a kind of rescue because the little spider monkey was allegedly about to be sacrificed by a “santero” as part of a ritual.
Friends of Paola’s dad bought her in a market in Pachuca, Hidalgo, to avoid being sacrificed. Without knowing that when buying it they were committing a crime that could take them to prison for three to six years.
“All species that are illegally marketed as wildlife are against the law within the Federal Criminal Code,” said Ignacio Millán, deputy prosecutor of PROFEPA.
Despite the affection that she had for Justin, Paola decided that the best thing was to return it to the jungle to reintegrate into its own world within ‘The Jungle Place’ sanctuary, which seems like the most appropriate place.
“I started thinking when Justin left, how will he react if he has never seen a monkey?” said Paola Plaza.
The transfer was made with the authorization and supervision of the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA).
Justin was very lucky to meet the Plaza family because most of the monkeys arrived at the sanctuary with serious damage due to the mistreatment they received during their captivity.
“These monkeys arrive to the sanctuary with broken arms, many arrive all stressed up and upset. There are monkeys here who were up to 12 years old and used to live in almost total freedom, but many of these poor animals spent a real long time tied to a tree,” said Joel Rangel.
17 years ago, Heidi and Joel arrived from the United States to Playa del Carmen with the idea of having a quiet retirement enjoying the beach and the sun.
The adoption of a spider monkey that was about to die changed their plans and today they are busier than ever.
“We came to retire, but we are doing a big thing, retirement goes with this part of life,” said Joel Rangel.
The spider monkey is a species in serious danger of extinction and has a special protection status. Their capture, possession and sale represents a federal crime.
TYT Newsroom with information from televisa.com
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