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Chico the Pet Monkey Confiscated by Brazilian Authorities after Living 37 Years with Elizete Farias Carmona

Elizete Farias Carmona and Chico (Photo: Facebook)

Elizete Farias Carmona and Chico (Photo: Facebook)

Thousands of outraged Brazilians have signed a petition urging authorities to return a pet monkey that was confiscated from the family with which he’d lived for the past 37 years.

The BBC reports Chico, a male capuchin monkey, had been living with 71-year-old Elizete Farias Carmona in her São Carlos home since a family friend gifted him to her in 1976.

But under Brazilian law, wild animals native to the country are prohibited from being kept as pets. Foreign exotic animals such as lions, tigers and various birds are allowed, but not capuchin monkeys.

Lt. Leandro Jose Oliveira of the São Paulo state environmental police said authorities were alerted about Chico by an anonymous tipster.

“We received advice that an animal was being kept captive in [Carmona's home],” Oliveira told reporters. “We went for an inspection in March and found the animal there. The animal had been illegally captured. Mrs. Carmona was given a provisional license to keep the monkey until we found a suitable place for it, which has happened now.”

That “suitable place” is a nature reserve in Assis, 190 miles (300 km) from São Carlos.

Carmona, who is distraught over losing custody of Chico, says she treated the monkey “like a son.”

“They have taken a son away from his mother,” Carmona told O Globo

Members of Carmona’s family expressed their concern that Chico would not fare well in his strange new home.

“He drank milk first thing in the morning and before going to bed. He loved carrots and ate them throughout the day,” one of Carmona’s sons, Ernani Furlan, told the BBC. “Will he be getting the same treatment over there?”

Thousands of Brazilians have signed a petition demanding Chico’s return to his longtime family. Carmona remains optimistic that she will be reunited with her simian ‘son.’

“I believe God will allow me to see my Chico again,” she said.

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