The rise in monkeypox cases has sparked a misguided wave of attacks on these animals. It is a completely useless action because the The transmission of the virus is exclusively through person-to-person contact.
Capuchin monkeys living free, healthy, as it should be, in an area that is a few kilometers from the center of Rio Preto, in the northwest of São Paulo. Spaces like this gained even more the attention of the environmental police; intense surveillance to try to stop attacks on animals. Orientation work.
“Inform the population that these animals are not transmitters of monkeypox, that kind of information”, says Lieutenant Fábio Leme, from the Environmental Police.
Videos taken at the ecological reserve show the monkeys getting sick and served as a warning to the Environmental Police. The general coordinator of the National Network to Combat Wild Animal Trafficking says that cases of stoning, persecution and poisoning against monkeys are being recorded in several places in the country.
“Since information about this new disease began to emerge, we have noticed an increase in the number of cases of animals that are persecuted, stoned or even poisoned due to the lack of information from Brazilian society. It is important for us to make it clear that Brazilian monkeys do not have the new smallpox virus and, therefore, they do not pose any threat to humans”, explains Dener Giovanini.
In less than a week, eight monkeys were rescued in forested areas in Rio Preto – one of them was already dead. The other seven showed signs of possible poisoning, were barely able to walk, and some were still injured. They were rescued by teams from the Environmental Police and also from the city zoo.
The suspicion is that they were poisoned, after the confirmation of three positive cases of monkeypox in the city.
Of the seven, only three managed to survive. According to veterinarian Guilherme Guerra Neto, manager of the zoo, it is still not possible to know which substance caused the poisoning.
“They responded well to the treatment, to the protocol against poisoning that we did. If they are well and able to return to the wild, to their group, in the forest, these animals will be released back to the group”, she says.
Maurício Nogueira, a virologist at the Rio Preto School of Medicine, explains that the animals found in Brazil do not pose a risk to humans when it comes to monkeypox.
“What we are seeing in Brazil and what we are seeing in Europe, in the United States, is transmission between people; people who are sick and are transmitting by close contact to others. There is no evidence of the circulation of monkeypox virus in monkeys in Brazil. There is no need to panic, there is no need to avoid the Brazilian monkeys, the monkeys from the Americas, which are not hosts, are not carrying this virus, and are not transmitting this virus,” he says.