Acta Vet. Brno 2023, 92: 397-406

Keeping primates as pets in the Czech Republic

Martina Volfová, Eva Voslářová, Vladimír Večerek

University of Veterinary Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Animal Protection and Welfare and Veterinary Public Health, Brno, Czech Republic

Received October 3, 2022
Accepted October 25, 2023

Primates belong to the most endangered groups of animals on Earth and their keeping in captivity is usually associated with the need to protect endangered species and create a viable reserve population. However, primates are also kept as pets. The aim of the study was to assess the species and numbers of primates kept in the Czech Republic as pets; for comparison, the species and numbers of primates kept in Czech zoos were also monitored. According to the CITES register, a total of 7,708 primates of 79 species from nine families were kept in both types of facilities (data valid as of 31 December 2020). Of these, 3,821 individuals were kept as pets and 3,877 in zoos. The most commonly kept species were the western pygmy marmoset, common marmoset, golden-handed tamarin, Guianan squirrel monkey from the Cebidae family, ring-tailed lemurs and black-and-white ruffed lemur from the Lemuridae family, mandrill, guereza, Japanese macaque, and bonnet macaque from the Cercopithecidae family. No primates of the Hominidae and Atelidae families were recorded in the case of pet keeping. The results show that in the Czech Republic, the number of primates kept as pets is comparable to their numbers in zoos. However, the question is whether this is a positive finding, given the difficulty of creating conditions for pet primates that meet their requirements, and also given that the contribution of pet keeping to the preservation of their population on Earth is questionable.


This study was supported by the Internal Creative Agency of the University of Veterinary Sciences Brno (Project No. 2021ITA22). The authors would like to thank the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic for providing data for the analysis.


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