A woman in Yilan County, whose dog found a baby Formosan rock macaque a month ago, took the monkey to the county’s Animal and Plant Disease Center for a health check on Tuesday, saying she wants to adopt it.
Lee Huai-chen (李懷珍) said she had already applied to the county’s Agriculture Department for permission to adopt the rock monkey, a species endemic to Taiwan.
Lee, a karaoke lounge owner in Suao (蘇澳), said her dog found it and carried it to her husband’s work shack in a hillside village in Yilan about a month ago.
The monkey appeared to be a newborn, about 20cm in height, she said, adding that its tiny head was covered in blood from several wounds when it was found.
Lee said she has been taking care of the baby monkey since then.
“I’ve changed diapers, fed it bottles of milk formula and put it to sleep next to my bed,” she said.
“We all call it Rockie,” because the little monkey falls asleep to the sound of rock music at the karaoke lounge and wakes up when the music stops, she said.
After learning that protected species might carry contagious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), she decided to take it to the quarantine center for a health check, she said.
However, she said she is worried that if the monkey were found to have TB, it would be given “humanitarian treatment,” meaning euthanasia.
She is also worried her adoption application would not be accepted because of the wildlife protection law, she said.
The Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法) prohibits hunting, raising or breeding protected wildlife, unless under special circumstances stated in the act or related legislation.
Kuo Tzu-ming, a staff member at the department’s animal conservation affairs division, said Rockie had probably been abandoned by its mother.
Adoption of injured protected animals is rarely permitted, Kuo said. Most injured wild animals that are rescued are usually released into the wild after they recover, he said.
However, Lee’s application could be regarded as a special case, Kuo said.
Formosan rock macaques are born to live in groups, he said. If the monkey is released into the wild rather than raised as a pet, it may not be able to survive because monkey troops do not easily accept outsiders, he added.
He said Lee’s adoption application would require an evaluation of her home, as well as an assessment of her knowledge of the species and her willingness to raise the animal.