Our colleagues at Shanghaiist just posted about this adorable but slightly alarming trend among elites in China of buying tiny pygmy marmosets, the world's smallest monkeys, to keep as pets in honor of the new Year of the Monkey. They're being sold out of the western Amazon rainforests where they're from, illegally, for up to 30,000 yuan ($4,559).

On China's Facebook, Weibo, people have begun posting pictures of their painfully cute but highly illegal new pets, with one jewelry seller apparently marketing one, essentially, like a piece of jewelry for one's hand.

...one jewelry store owner surnamed Chen showed off his latest accessory in a post to friends. "Snow leopards and red-crowned cranes have nothing on my New Year's gift. Please meet Xiao Shen," he wrote.

He then goes on to tell those interested about Xiao Shen's 30,000 RMB price tag, apparently unconcerned about the legality of hawking tiny primates as jewelry.

Chinese government officials are, apparently, looking into this trend and there may be consequences for illegal sellers.

Despite the issues of quarantine and the law, SFist's Eve Batey says she is determined to find one, name it Norton, and write a weekly column about him for SFist in which he meets local celebrities like Buster Posey and Ann Getty, and sleeps in a Tiffany box. And she is only partly kidding.


Photo: Weibo via Shanghaiist

Related: Photo Du Jour: The Strikingly NSFW Year Of The Monkey

Photo: Weibo via Shanghaiist