Agriculture Minister clarifies decision to export monkeys to China

Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera says that Sri Lanka will be able to provide toque macaque monkeys to China only if the committee appointed on the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers recommends in this regard.

The Minister pointed out that a Chinese company which operates around 1,000 private zoos in China has requested Sri Lankan toque macaque monkeys for their zoos.

However, Minister Amaraweera emphasized that although China has requested to provide monkeys from Sri Lanka, the government has not yet arrived at a final decision regarding the matter.

Minister Amaraweera also stated that a committee consisting of representatives from the Department of Wildlife, the Department of National Zoological Gardens, the Attorney General’s Department, Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture, will be appointed on the approval of the Cabinet in order to consider the legality related to these activities.

“I, as the Minister of Agriculture, am submitting a Cabinet paper for this purpose. The supply of monkeys to China is done only on the recommendation of the committee appointed by the Cabinet”, he added.

Amaraweera claimed if somehow the committee decides that the country is not able to export the monkeys, this matter will end there and therefore, there is no need to be falsely alarmed.

Meanwhile the minister, who mentioned that the threat of damage occurred to crop cultivation by monkeys is not insignificant within the country, also claimed that 93 million coconuts have been destroyed by monkeys and giant squirrels in the first six months of the year 2022.

“The amount has exceeded 200 million coconuts at the end of 2022”, he said.

“You can ask farmers on the damage caused to the crop cultivations by monkeys. This issue prevails for a long period of time with no any solution.”

“Those who comment against exporting these animals to China do not provide any alternative solution for this issue.”

Thereby, he highlighted that this issue has become a matter that needs to be discussed with an open mind.

However, Veterinarian Chamith Nanayakkara, who has contributed in preparing the Animal Welfare Bill, states that there are humane solutions for this real issue of monkeys causing damage to crop cultivations.

He mentions that the alternative methods such as sterilization of female monkeys, vasectomy surgeries to male monkeys other ways of repelling animals from cultivation lands such as planting Monkey Puzzle Trees around the cultivation lands can be used in order to overcome these issues.

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