The ballad of Justin Bieber and Mally the monkey draws closer to its final note.
The 19-year-old has until Friday to hand in necessary paperwork to claim the capuchin, which was seized at Munich airport in March during a Believe tour stop.
Bieber was forced to hand over the monkey to customs officials after failing to provide a health certificate and other documents.
Since then, Mally, who was about 14-weeks-old when he was removed from the pop star’s possession, has been kept at the Munich Animal Protection League shelter.
Previous contact between Team Bieber and the shelter amounted to two emails expressing worry about Mally being euthanized and inquiries about rehousing the monkey in a German zoo.
Munich customs officials told the singer’s team about the May 17 deadline last month. After this, the primate will automatically become German property.
So that’s the context.
Judith Brettmeister, a spokeswoman for the shelter that’s looking after Mally, told Reuters:
“Bieber’s lawyers have indicated they would like to leave the monkey. From an animal rights perspective, it would have been better to do that before, as he is being kept well here but not with other members of his own species.”
She added that Mally is “now jumping around, learning slowly to climb and to use its tail.”
As most will recall, news of the monkey’s gilded incarceration infuriated a line-up of animal welfare groups who branded Bieber “monstrous” and “cruel.” All of them stressed Mally’s need to develop naturally in an environment with other monkeys said he shouldn’t be returned to the singer.
Apparently, Bieber and his team are on the same page. Come Friday — if not before — it’s likely headlines will read Mally is now Herr Mally. Franz Boehmer, from the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation told Reuters in fait accompli terms:
“I’m afraid we can’t reveal details on where Mally will be taken, as we are worried about the hype surrounding the monkey. We want to calmly integrate the animal into a group of its own species.”
Despite some media working the “pop star abandons baby monkey” angle, most reasonable observers seem to have grasped the obvious fact that Bieber cannot meet Mally’s needs.
Even PETA agree. Notwithstanding a dose of self-promotion amid berating the Germans for their record on “surplus” zoo animals, a representative for the group said:
“PETA is thankful Justin Bieber heeded our advice and surrendered Mally to the experienced caregivers at the Munich animal shelter,” before adding:
“And we have recommended a permanent move to the The Monkey Sanctuary in the UK, where Mally will be integrated with other monkeys and receive the social interaction vital to a monkey’s well-being and psychological growth.”
Certainly Bieber made bad decisions in first accepting the monkey as a gift, then traveling with it and without proper documents, but the greater mistake would be to compound them by taking Mally back.