Brothers Arrested in Attempted Smuggling of 61 Monkeys From Tanzania - Atlas Obscura
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Brothers Arrested in Attempted Smuggling of 61 Monkeys From Tanzania

One of them owned an “exotic park.”

(Photo: AKS.9955/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Two brothers were recently arrested in Tanzania for attempting to smuggle 61 caged monkeys out of the country, according to reports. 

Their apparent destination? An exotic park in Armenia, owned by one of the brothers, who are Dutch nationals Artyom and Edward Vardanyan, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. They were taken into custody at Kilimanjaro International Airport, in northern Tanzania.

The brothers’ attempt seems to have been aided by Tanzanian officials, some of whom, the OCCRP reported, had been fired after facilitating permits allowing the export of the monkeys. A recent export ban had made those permits invalid, and when the brothers presented them to airport officials on March 23, they were arrested. 

A plane equipped to smuggle hundreds more monkeys was also seized at the airport. 

This is apparently not the first brush with the law for Artyom Vardanyan, who was accused in 2014 of illegal animal smuggling, according to OCCRP. That case also involved primates—more specifically, a bonobo.