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Vietnam’s Can Gio Mangrove: A cruel monkey circus camouflaged as a UNESCO natural reserve

Rachael Bale: ‘Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve in Vietnam is known as the “green lungs” of industrialised Ho Chi Minh area… Designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve, the park draws tourists from around the world to see the verdant mangrove forests, the seabirds, and the thousands of wild macaques… Then there are the monkeys wearing pants, dresses, and overalls. These monkeys don’t hang out in the groves of trees or on the beach. They’re in an arena surrounded by strangers on concrete benches. These monkeys don’t climb trees or lazily pick nits off one another. They walk tight ropes, ride bicycles, and leap over flames. These monkeys don’t retreat into the forest at night. They watch their handlers, standing close by, swinging short lengths of cord or canes, waiting to be told when their performances are over. This is a circus—in the middle of a nature reserve.

Wildlife experts and animal advocates have long denounced such performances. To train a monkey, the animal is typically taken from its mother soon after birth and subjected to isolation and abuse during the training process. Teaching them tricks often can mean beatings or other punishments each time they don’t comply. “These performances tell our children that wild animals are here for our entertainment, to be dressed up, forced to do unnatural tricks and laughed at, while no regard is given to what is best for the animals,” says a statement from the Hong Kong-based animal welfare nonprofit Animals Asia. “This is the only [circus] I’m aware of inside a national reserve, which is more commonly associated with conservation and species protection,” says Dave Neale, of Animals Asia’. SOURCE…

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