Colombo, Oct 6 (IANS): After requests by China in April, Sri Lanka has received more requests to export monkeys, Sri Lanka Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told in the Parliament.
Amaraweera said that the same request that came from China in April had come again to export Toque macaque monkeys for the zoos of the respective countries.
“I inform them to make the requests through the relevant embassies of their countries,” the Minister said responding to a question raised by the Opposition.
In April, a private firm in China had requested for 100,000 monkeys, a set of animals that had become a menace for the island’s agricultural activities.
The Minister and the Sri Lanka government had agreed to the request but there was a strong opposition from the environmental and animal rights activists and it ended up in courts.
The government had agreed to export monkeys as a measure to control the damage caused to the crops which was estimated at Rs 20 billion (nearly $62 million) a year.
However, 30 parties, including animal and wildlife protection organisations, had complained to the Supreme Court against the government’s decision to export monkeys.
The activists had feared that the monkeys would be used for meat while others claimed that monkeys would be used for medical research.
Amid the protests, in June the government dropped the idea to export monkeys to China.
Earlier in February,Amaraweera also had announced that there were six crop-ravaging animals namely peacocks, toque macaques, grizzled giant squirrels, porcupines and wild boars and they were removed from the list of protected animals in Sri Lanka meaning that they could be killed.
Source: Daiji World