By Tim Barlass
Have you ever seen been offered the chance to have a holiday snap taken with a cute monkey?
Did you post the image on Facebook or ''like'' a similar picture on a friend's page?
Then consider this message from the British animal charity Care for the Wild International: in doing so you have made the animal trade more lucrative and ''liked'' animal abuse and cruelty.
The real story behind the happy monkey snap is that the tourist stunt is contributing to the decline of many primates. The animal was most likely taken from his family at a tender age and his mother inevitably killed.
The monkey would have had his teeth and claws ripped out to ensure he did not scratch or bite during the photo shoot.
Considered a working animal, not a pet, the source of revenue is ultimately dumped or killed when it is deemed no longer cute enough to be in front of the lens.
The charity's chief executive Philip Mansbridge said it was easy to get caught up in the moment when on holiday, so having a photo taken with a cute wild animal may seem like a good idea. But if people knew the true story behind these animals then they would learn to say no.
''If you see a wild animal that isn't in the wild, then it's time to ask questions,'' Mansbridge said. ''If it's a young animal, where's its mum? Why is it so tame?''
The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the population of chimpanzees in the wild could be as low as 172,000. Chimps, officially ranked as endangered, have already disappeared completely from four countries.
Lou Grossfeldt, supervisor of primates at Taronga Zoo said baby chimps may look gorgeous but they were also vulnerable.
''By the time they reach five years of age, these animals are incredibly strong and powerful and they need to be tied up. More....