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The new rules will be introduced in 2026, but some people have called for a full ban

The government has announced new rules for people wanting to keep primates – that’s animals like orangutans, chimpanzees, lemurs and monkeys.

From 2026, you won’t be able to own animals like these without a license.

To get this license, you would have to prove that you’ve built the right environment for the primate, and that it is being properly looked after.

People who don’t follow the rules could have a big fine, or go to jail.

Can you keep a primate as a pet in the UK?

Image source, Mark Lynham

In the UK, there’s a rule called the Animal Welfare Act. It means that people can’t keep animals as pets unless they give them a safe place to live and look after them.

Primates like monkeys and lemurs were included in this. People could keep them as pets as long as they kept to the rules.

Since it was introduced in 2006, the Animal Welfare Act has had lots of updates from the government.

Image source, Tomasz Bobrzynski (tomanthony)

How will the new rules work?

People who own a primate as pets will need to make sure it’s registered with the government. The government will also check to see if the environment they’ve made for the primate is good enough.

The rules say that primates need to be kept at “zoo standard” – which means if they’re owned as a pet, they need to be looked after like they would in a zoo in the UK.

This means making sure they have the right food, plenty of space to run around, and the right temperatures to keep them happy.

What do you think about keeping animals like monkeys as pets? Let us know in the comments.

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