Following a popular interest suit raised by 2010 Whitley Gold Award winner, Angela Maldonado, the Colombian government have revoked permits enabling a major laboratory – the Fundación Instituto de Inmunología de Colombia (FIDIC) – to collect wild night monkeys to use in the research of malarial vaccines.

The popular interest suit, filed by Angela and the lawyer Gabriel Vanegas, follows several years of research and investigation, supported with funding from Whitley Fund for Nature and other donors. During 2007-2008, Angela reported that 15,000 adult trees were cut down in the Colombian Amazonas region to enable the capture of 4,000 monkeys which were then sold to the FIDIC laboratory for research.

The verdict to halt this trade recognizes that the FIDIC lab, along with Colombia’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Southern Amazon (Corpoamazonía) are culpable of failing in their duty to ensure the protection of biodiversity and environmental integrity, and of not complying with Colombia’s international commitments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

A shortened version of the legal judgement can be viewed here.