Asia for Animals and the Macaque Coalition, supported by over a hundred concerned organizations from around the world, have asked the mayor of Oita City to abandon plans to send a group of Japanese macaques to Uruguay as a diplomatic gift.
Current plans involve the capture of thirty wild macaques from Mount Takasaki in Oita City, and to send fifteen of these monkeys to Uruguay, as a diplomatic gift intended to “bridge the two countries and raise the name recognition of the city.”
Oita City’s intentions behind this proposed gift are admirable. Our appeal to Mayor Kiichiro Sato recognizes this, and suggests that Oita City proceed with an alternative that does not cause Japan’s iconic and sensitive monkeys to suffer.
Japanese macaques naturally live in close-knit family groups that span generations. They are intelligent and emotional animals, well-known to form enduring friendships. To separate any number of these monkeys from their friends and families, and to remove them from their natural habitat, sending them instead to live the remainder of their lives in captivity in an unfamiliar environment, would be incompatible with the sense of generosity that diplomatic gifts are meant to convey. The process of capture and transport can be extremely distressing to any wild animal and puts them at risk of injury, illness, or even death.
With so many alternatives that could be considered, like musical performances or public artworks, we believe that Oita City could easily do the right thing and change their plan. This kindness would reflect well on Oita City and on Japan itself and would surely be appreciated by Uruguay's government and its people.
We encourage anyone who wants to help to see JAVA’s call to action, and to write polite messages to Mayor Kiichiro Sato, thanking him for his efforts to bring the two countries together, and requesting that he choose the kind option.