KARACHI: The wildlife department staff rescued 15 infant monkeys, caught from the wild, from a bus at the Toll Plaza and arrested a man, officials said on Wednesday.

They said the young rhesus monkeys, hardly two months old, were kept in wooden boxes and being transported to Karachi from Peshawar.

“They were caught from their habitats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Sindh Wildlife Conservator Javed Ahmed Mahar said, adding that the suspect was identified as Qadir Khan.

The officials said the suspect was produced before a Malir sessions court that remanded him in police custody till July 7.

Mr Mahar said that the department was continuing with its investigation and contacted their counterparts in KP, who would be arriving in the city soon.

Asked about the babies’ well-being, he said they were being fed with fruits and would soon be shifted to a proper place for rehabilitation.

“They are in stress as they have been separated from their mothers at a very young age. During the hearing today, the judge had also showed concern over their welfare and directed the wildlife department to take steps for their rehabilitation before shifting them to Peshawar,” he said.

Like most primates, Mr Mahar pointed out, females were primarily responsible for rearing infants within the troop and the babies were nursed for as long as a year.

According to wildlife officials, the monkey infants caught from their habitats in the northern Pakistan are tamed and used for public entertainment.

Rhesus monkeys (macaca mulatta) are highly adaptable and social. They live throughout Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, southeast Asia and China. These primates travel in groups numbering from 10 to more than 100.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

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