As Mally, the teen idol’s pet capuchin monkey, knows by now, pet primates are never a good idea. And when a celebrity decides to make one a pet, it’s even worse.

That’s because there’s a knock-on effect. Adoring fans go to great lengths to imitate their favorite stars. That includes trying to accessorize like them, buying the same hair care products, clothes, and jewelry. And when animals are viewed simply as property, a pet—even (or especially) an exotic pet—is just another accessory to be purchased. And that boosts the miserable trade in pet monkeys.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber tried to bring his pet baby monkey Mally into Germany with him. The animal has been quarantined and may be confiscated.

In Mally’s case, the monkey is drawing even more attention than her human star, as she has become the subject of a legal tussle.

Mally, a gift to the 19 year old pop star on his most recent birthday, was confiscated on March 28 when Bieber failed to produce appropriate customs paperwork after flying into Munich with her via a private plane. If he fails to come up with the required documents within a month, Mally could be permanently confiscated and perhaps sent to a zoo.

Although she is now in quarantine at a pet shelter in Germany, the 15-week-old monkey is apparently (as she was when in the custody of Bieber) still without any companions of her own species.

This is a cruel fate for any monkey. Nearly all primates are group-living species and need to grow up in a socially-appropriate world in order to develop normally.

Baby monkeys bred for the pet trade are often taken from their mothers when weeks or even a few days old. Raised without the company of other monkeys, they don’t learn the appropriate social behaviors unique to each species. This means that, whenever the primate is given up after reaching maturity and becoming too aggressive (as is often the case), it is really difficult to integrate them back other monkeys. Pet monkeys are often doomed to live their lives as social misfits.

Jungle Friends capuchin

Capuchins like this one at the Jungle Friends primate sanctuary are one of the more common primates in the pet trade. Mally will hopefully be sent here to live with other members of her species.

A petition has been started to have Mally repatriated to the United States and sent to Jungle Friends, an excellent primate sanctuary in Florida, which specializes in New World monkeys like Mally. Hopefully, this will happen before she gets much older.

So in the future, when it comes to celebrities, remember: just buy the mousse, not the monkey!



  1. Tina on April 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Unable to get petition signature submitted at the site. Is is closed or are other having similar issues.
    Either…rooting for Mally to come live with you. Can’t think of any place better. I hope you will post the costs for getting Mally “home” as I would like to help if I can.
    Thanks for all you do for the monks.

  2. Florence Eaise on April 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    I tried to sign the petition but theres a glitch when i click on the sign button it goes to another page and says error i also noticed noone has signed since the 16th of April i do hope this petition hasnt had this glitch for that long as i can only imagine how many people couldnt sign please let me know when its fixed so i can sign and share and cross post this petition thanks