THE RSPCA has rescued a family of six marmosets in Bradford after their owner contacted the charity to ask for help.

Officers visited a home in Bradford back in February to transport the primates, taking them to a vet surgery for check-ups, with the males having vasectomies.

Inspector Kim Greaves, National Exotics Coordinator for the RSPCA, said: “We were contacted by a woman who had bought two marmosets from a pet shop and now had a family group of six, three females and three males. 

“She’d had the monkeys for five years and approached us to ask for help, because she was struggling to meet their needs.”

In December 2020, the Government launched a consultation - which ended in February - and proposed a ban on the keeping primates as pets.

The RSPCA welcomed the proposed ban, after calling for one to be introduced - alongside other animal welfare organisations and primate rescue groups - for a number of years.

The marmosets have now been moved to a private exotics specialist sanctuary in Cambridgeshire, where they now have a large, suitable enclosure and carers who understand primates’ complex needs.

Kim added: “Now, the marmosets have a huge enclosure with the stimulation, space and enrichment they need to keep them happy.

"However, many of my colleagues have seen primates being kept alone in shocking conditions, cooped up in tiny, filthy cages and fed fast food, fizzy drinks and even drugs. Often these primates will have behaviour problems and poor health, due to inappropriate care.”

Dr Ros Clubb, Senior Scientific Manager at the RSPCA, said: “We are delighted that a ban on keeping primates as pets is now in sight, and we hope that the legislation will deliver an end to the keeping and trade of primates as pets. 

“Primates are intelligent, sentient and highly social animals with complex needs that simply cannot be met in a domestic environment. Just like humans, primates can become depressed without adequate stimulation.

"They need a spacious and enriched environment that challenges their intelligent brains and allows for them to behave like primates should.”