China’s rich folk have apparently seized on yet another extravagant and perplexing trend — thumb-sized pet monkeys. They’re the ideal gift for the Year of the Monkey, if you just overlook the illegality and cruelty aspects.
The world’s smallest monkeys, these pygmy marmosets are native to the Western Amazon Basin rainforests in South America. In China they’re being sold for up to 30,000 yuan ($4,559). Illegally, that is. Not that that’s stopping the elite from doing their thing.
People’s Daily reports that the tiny animals have been nicknamed “thumb monkeys” and are taking the place of expensive diamond rings for a wealthy few.
On Weibo, one jewelry store owner surnamed Chen showed off his latest accessory in a post to friends. “Snow leopards and red-crowned cranes have nothing on my New Year’s gift. Please meet Xiao Shen,” he wrote.
He then goes on to tell those interested about Xiao Shen’s 30,000 RMB price tag, apparently unconcerned about the legality of hawking tiny primates as jewelry.
“Buying and selling are certainly not legal,” stated one official expert. “More than one governmental body is supervising this.”
Since the marmosets are foreign, there’s also the issue of quarantine. But it remains to be seen if the mini monkeys will be rescued from the clutches of the new money crowd.
[Images via Weibo]