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16 June 2011, 05:00
Suffolk Trading Standards have confirmed the safe arrival of the stowaway Macaque monkey from Malaysia at the Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary.
Suffolk Trading Standards officers, the UK Border Agency, Maersk Shipping crew and the Animal Health Agency have all made sure the monkey, who was captured on board a Maersk container ship on route to Felixstowe, has now been successfully transported to his new home in Britain.
Under UK rabies rules, monkeys are only permitted to be imported at specified airports requiring an import licence and six months’ quarantine. The Port of Felixstowe is not approved to import animals and as such bringing an animal ashore would be classed as an offence.
However, in view of the circumstances, Suffolk Trading Standards has worked with partners to allow 'Sinbad', as the monkey has now been affectionately named, to be transported safely in a specially equipped animal rescue ambulance to the sanctuary at Caehopkin, South Wales. Here he will be quarantined for six months before being integrated among the other monkeys.
Peter Korwin, Principal Trading Standards Officer, said; “We are delighted to have been part of the efforts to save the life off this monkey. The fact that he will be able to live out his days in Wales is thanks to the full co-operation by all the relevant parties. We have heard that he travelled well and even got up to a little mischief by chewing a camera cable, then playing with the load strap that he pulled in to his crate. We are sure he will prove to be quite a character over time!”
Grant Miller, Assistant Director of the UK Border Agency’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) team, said; “As a team, we’re used to dealing with smugglers and bringing them to justice. It is therefore a rare pleasure to be able to work on an operation where everyone involved has only the animal’s best interests at heart. The Maersk crew deserve a huge amount of credit for catching their stowaway and looking after him on the long journey from Malaysia to the UK.
Thanks to their responsible actions, the UK Border Agency and the other authorities have been able to take the necessary steps to ensure what will hopefully be a bright future for Sinbad in his new Welsh home.”
Brian Godsafe, Managing Director of Maersk Line UK said; "It is extremely unusual to have a stowaway of this nature. Despite the size of a container ship, our crews are extremely vigilant and access to the vessel while it is in port is monitored very closely. This monkey must have been unusually curious- a busy port is not normally an environment that interests animals. Our captain and his crew worked hard to minimise distress to the animal and to ensure all of the authorities were fully informed."
Graham Garen at the Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary said; “Sinbad seemed remarkably stress-free considering his adventures. The crew of the Maersk did a wonderful job of caring for him and he became quite a character on board. We do have another Macaque monkey - a Japanese snow monkey called Julie who, although a different species, may well be a companion for Sinbad!”