Chinese police discovered 47 wild monkeys in the trunk of a car during a routine stop last month.
Officers pulled the car over for a spot check in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi Zhuang and discovered the monkeys, all of which were alive except for one, stuffed into bags and piled into the trunk. Officers said they feared the monkeys were en route to be sold for medicine or bushmeat.
Out of the primates, 19 were wild macaques while the other 28 were slow lorises. The endangered slow loris is commonly used in Cambodia for traditional medicine, and dried slow lorises are reportedly a familiar sight in Cambodian markets. Despite objections from international animal rights activists, these endangered primates are often used to treat stomach problems, broken bones and sexually transmitted diseases. There are virtually no animal welfare laws in China.
Animal trade is commonplace in Southeast Asia, and some countries sell endangered species for fur, meat, food and as ornaments. China and Vietnam are said to be among the worst offenders of animal trade. A UN magazine, according to the Daily Mail, reported that “the demand and price for products from endangered species” in the two countries have “skyrocketed.”
Authorities reportedly arrested two men after the monkeys were discovered. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to reports.
The monkeys were ultimately released into the wild.