Meet Nicolas the alcoholic monkey and symbol of abuse in Chile


A capuchin monkey (Cebus apella) remains in a cage at a primate rehabilitation centre in Peñaflor, 30km southwest of Santiago. Photo courtesy: AFP
Escaping the clutches of alcoholism is never easy, and it certainly wasn’t for Nicolas, who had to go on anti-depressants to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.
But thanks to the timely help of a Chilean treatment center, he has finally been able to get back to what he does best: being a monkey.
Nicolas, a tufted capuchin monkey, was abused in captivity by his owners — shopkeepers in the Chilean capital Santiago.
They amused themselves by teaching him to smoke cigarettes and giving him alcohol.
“They liked to see his reactions when he drank. He became more aggressive, and that made them laugh,” said veterinarian Nicole Rivera Helbig.
Nicolas, whose owners had his fangs removed, was made to drink so often he became addicted.
Today the small brown monkey, who gets camera-shy when journalists film him, is one of about 150 illegally trafficked animals recovering from various forms of abuse at the Primate Rehabilitation Center in Penaflor, on the outskirts of Santiago.
After going through a rehab program similar to the ones human addicts undergo, he is now in recovery.
But his case is not an isolated one.
“Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs are the most common things (abusive owners) give to monkeys, because they see it as a game,” said Rivera.
A capuchin monkey (Cebus Apella) remains in a cage at a primate rehabilitation centre in Peñaflor, 30 km southwest of Santiago, Chile
One monkey was even taught to steal jewels from unsuspecting people on the street, while another, an aging female, was subjected to hormone treatments in a laboratory.
With lush trees and plants that seek to emulate the monkeys’ natural environment, the rehabilitation center today hosts a range of species, from the gangly spider monkey to the pint-sized …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper