Monkey Business Has Everyone Scrambling In Karachi Court

Monkey Business Has Everyone Scrambling In Karachi Court
Pandemonium broke out at a local court in Karachi on Thursday when some primates, brought in as evidence, escaped their suffocating crate and hopped all over the court.

Staff was sent scurrying to retrieve the little animals before it could be decided what to do with them.

The day started as normal at the Karachi court on Thursday morning. Two men, who were caught a day before outside Karachi trying to smuggle a troop of 14 baby monkeys in a crate resembling that of mangoes, were presented before a judge.

The crate with the primates was also presented.

As the crate was opened so that the judge could inspect the animals, one of the trapped monkeys shot out towards the light.

The monkey managed to climb a tree to safety. An effort had to be made by the court staff to tempt the monkey to come down from the tree and bring the evidence back.

"The monkeys had been stuffed in the boxes... they could hardly breathe," said Javed Mahar from the Sindh Wildlife Department.

The next day, the court, the smugglers Rs100,000 (around $350) each on Friday and ordered that the monkeys should be handed over to the Karachi Zoo since there is no state-run animal shelter in the city, nor are those operating in the private space equipped to handle primates.

The move, however, was criticised by wildlife officials who argued that the monkeys should be returned to their natural habitats from where they had been captured as that was the best option for them.

Trading or keeping wild animals is illegal. But the powerful and those fond of exotic pets frequently flout these laws, fueling a thriving market for exotic pets.

Among the list of exotic pets kept, people have kept lions, giraffes and other animals.

Monkeys, on the other hand, are frequently kept by street entertainers to attract customers and, in some cases, have been trained by criminals to enter houses to steal.

Pakistan's zoos are notorious for their poor facilities, and activists frequently accuse them of disregarding animal welfare. The Karachi Zoo, where the monkeys would be transferred, saw an elephant kept in captivity die due to poor care. Last-ditch efforts were made to save her but were in vain.

In 2020, a court ordered the only zoo in Islamabad to close because of its decrepit state and lack of care for animals while recognising that animals, too had inalienable rights.