At the Colombian-Peruvian border of the Amazon, wild night monkeys are harvested for malaria research by a single Colombian biomedical laboratory that illegally sources 70% of their test subjects from Peruvian communities. The continuous extraction of night monkeys decimates local primate populations and contributes to the deforestation of the Amazon since wide expanses of trees are felled during the capture process. 

After experimentation, trafficked night monkeys are released back into the wild without screening for diseases or assessment on how resident populations are affected by the influx of released animals. 

Night monkeys are susceptible to human pathogens such as TB and herpes simplex virus, and releasing them after prolonged captivity, especially immunocompromised, could introduce harmful diseases into wild populations or establish sylvatic cycles of disease with the potential for spillback from animals to humans.

Entropika takes legal action to stop the trade of night monkeys and the exploitation of indigenous trappers.


In 2011, Entropika’s director filed a “popular benefit” lawsuit, setting off a series of ongoing legal battles to protect night monkey populations from wildlife trafficking for vaccine research. 

Entropika uses the court system to hold Colombian national and regional environmental authorities and the biomedical facility accountable for corruption, negligence in issuing permits, unregulated post-experimental releases, and exceeding legal trapping quotas by procuring trafficked monkeys from Peru.


In 2014, Entropika's director won the lawsuit, and trapping permits for night monkeys were revoked until 2016. This ruling stopped the capture of approximately 4,000 monkeys per year and reduced the risk of endemic disease transmission from primates to indigenous trappers.

National and international media coverage of the landmark case exposed corruption, unethical research, and environmental damages costing the laboratory financial backing and prestige. 

In 2017, Nancy Ma's night monkey was upgraded from Least Concern to Vulnerable on IUCN's Red List. 

In 2019, at Entropika's request, the Comptroller General ordered disciplinary and penal investigations against Corpoamazonia, the regional environmental authority, and the Ministry of Environment, marking the first time that criminal investigations will be carried out regarding the illegal trade in night monkeys. 

Entropika is currently contesting the lab’s latest permits to extract 400 monkeys a year from indigenous territories for the period 2020-2022 in court.

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