Titi Monkeys are known for their long, soft fur.
Titi monkeys are known for their very long, soft fur. (Photo: CC by cliff1066™/Flickr)

A man was found in the Mexico City International Airport with 18 Titi monkeys strapped around his torso. These monkeys, much like many other endangered species, are traded on the black market for high profit margins. The Titi monkeys were discovered by airport police, who later arrested the smuggler. Had Roberto Zavaleta Sol Cabrera successfully sold the Titi monkeys, he could have made more than $27,000.

Airport police discover smuggled Titi monkeys

Airport police spotted an individual who looked very “nervous” in the Mexico City International Airport. Sol Cabrera was apparently trying to “conceal a large lump in his jumpsuit.” The police were curious of his actions, and they discovered the 18 Titi monkeys hidden under his clothes. Stuffed into socks and strapped to his waist, two of the monkeys had already died. The claim of the smuggler is that he transported the monkeys like this to “protect them from x-ray scanners.”

The basics of the Titi monkey

The Titi monkey is a tiny monkey native to South America. The monkeys are known for their very long, soft fur. They live in family groups, protect their territory, and eat a wide variety of plants and bugs. The Titi monkey is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The government of Mexico also has strict laws against the importation and trade of Titi monkeys. These restrictions, however, have not reduced incidents of people buying primates for pets.

The profit of black market animals

There is a thriving trade in banned or restricted animals in many countries. The Titi monkeys found in the Mexico City Airport were purchased for about $30 apiece. If Roberto had managed to sell the monkeys, they would have sold for as much as $1,550 apiece. Had any of the monkeys been sold in the United States, they may have sold for $3,000 or more. The black market trade in animals is very dangerous for the pet buyers as well as the animals, but is proving very difficult to quash.

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