SINGAPORE: A black-tufted marmoset, a species of monkey that is one of the most illegally smuggled wildlife, has been rescued after it was spotted in Punggol over the weekend.
This is the fifth marmoset rescued in Singapore this year.
Wildlife rescue group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) told Channel NewsAsia on Monday (Dec 17) it received an alert on Saturday night that the marmoset had been "sighted appearing lost" outside Block 271D, Punggol Walk.
ACRES officers visited the area on Sunday morning to look for the animal and interview residents. A member of the public later spotted the adult marmoset at a basement parking area and managed to contain it in a cardboard box and alert ACRES.
"ACRES is shocked to rescue a fifth marmoset in a year," the rescue group told Channel NewsAsia.
"Such abandoned exotic wildlife is just a tip of the iceberg, and several other individuals may go undetected, still being held captive at homes illegally or traded openly online."
Black-tufted marmosets are primarily native to Brazil, which indicates that the animal ACRES rescued was smuggled into Singapore to be kept or sold illegally, it said.
In an appeal on Facebook, the group said that the marmoset will be handed over to the Singapore Zoo.
"The illegal pet trade is still very much rampant in Singapore and the cruelty behind captive wildlife for the illicit pet trade is unjustified," ACRES said in the post.
ACRES said that the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore has been informed of the marmoset's plight.
In April, four marmosets were found abandoned at the doorstep of a clinic on Serangoon Road.
"Exotic animals do not survive in unfamiliar environment and often die from starvation, stress or animal attacks/road accidents," ACRES said.
Concerns regarding disease is another reason why exotic animals should not be kept as pets, it added.
Primates such as marmosets can transmit viral and bacterial pathogens to humans and other primates. These pathogens are mainly passed on through fecal-oral routes.
"We urge public to say no to keeping wild animals as pets and appeal to give any information one may have on the owner of this animal."
Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, it is an offence to import, possess, display or sell such animals.
Anyone caught violating this is liable to a fine of up to S$50,000 for each species or a jail term of up to 2 years or both.