Justin Bieber Took Selfies While His Monkey Suffered, Says Zookeeper
Last year, singer Justin Bieber made headlines after he attempted to smuggle his pet capuchin monkey into Germany without documentation. Authorities at the Munich airport promptly seized the exotic animal, named Mally, promising to return him once the singer provided the necessary health and ownership papers.
Bieber, however, never came back. A month after his pet was taken into custody, authorities learned that Bieber decided he didn't want the monkey anymore. And since then, Mally has been a ward of the state, housed at a wildlife park in northern Germany while his famous former owner moved on with his life.
But now the person who ended up raising the little monkey is speaking out - blasting Bieber for abandoning the animal. In an interview with the U.K.'s MailOnline, Mally's keeper, Jenny Niawoehner, basically calls Bieber out.
"I would not like to meet Justin Bieber because I would not have pleasant things to say to him," says Niawoehner.
"Mally was frightened [when he arrived], he was alone, he was disoriented and we did not know how things would work out for him. He needed to be cared for constantly. I believe that Justin Bieber probably only ever interacted with him when he wanted to have his picture taken with a fan."
Animals welfare advocates say that monkeys like Mally should never be people's personal pets. Debbie Leahy, from the Humane Society of the United States, says that monkeys bred for the pet trade are typically separated from their parents at too young an age and develop behavior problems as they mature into adulthood.
"No primate species should ever be kept as a pet. They have very special needs. These are highly social animals," Leahy told National Geographic. "They need to be kept with others of their own kind; that's just critical to their psychological well-being."
Fortunately, under Niawoehner's expert care, Mally is said to be doing well despite his difficult past. Hannah Cleaver, a contributor to The Dodo, visited Mally last January and found him to be in a far better state than when Bieber abandoned him.
The singer has since paid Germany $10,700 to cover fines and expenses related to Mally's seizure which, if left outstanding, could have limited his ability to travel and tour within the European Union.