Animal welfare organizations have protested against sending Sri Lankan animals to other countries either for meat or scientific research purposes.
They said this in response to a discussion held yesterday (11) regarding the sending of Sri Lankan Toque macaques (known as ‘Rilau’ in Sinhala), to China.
Environmentalist Dr. Jagath Gunawardena said that Sri Lankan animals can be sent to foreign countries only for conservation programmes or animal exchange programmes.
Environmentalists also said that a proper survey must be conducted before sending Sri Lankan Toque macaques to China.
Discussion held with Minister of Agriculture
Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera has proposed to send 100,000 Toque macaques to China as a method to minimise the crop damage caused by these animals and to control their population.
The Ministry of Agriculture said that the minister has taken this decision following a request made by China to provide these animals to China.
A delegation from China met with the minister yesterday (11) to discuss the matter.
The ministry said that the Chinese authorities have made this request to display these Toque macaques in their zoos.
A group of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Zoological Gardens Department and the Wildlife Department also joined the discussion held between the Chinese delegation and the Minister of Agriculture.
Under the first phase, it has been discussed to send 100,000,000 Toque macaques to China.
Committee to be appointed
It is planned to appoint a committee consisting of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Department of Zoological Gardens, Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Attorney General’s Department to prepare the required legal proceedings in this regard.
It has also been decided to immediately prepare the Cabinet paper needed to set up this committee which will be appointed to study the legal background to send Toque macaques to a foreign country.
According to a study conducted by the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute in 2022, it has been revealed that in the first six months of the year from January to June, 93 million coconuts have been destroyed by monkeys, Toque macaques and giant squirrels.
The farmers alleged that although various solutions have been proposed in the past regarding the alternative measures that can be taken to avoid the crop damage caused by animals, none of them have been implemented in a positive manner.
At present, the population of Toque macaques in Sri Lanka is close to 3 million, and the Ministry of Agriculture said that all the efforts made by the government to reduce this population have failed.
Meanwhile, a group of farmers have requested the Minister of Agriculture to give them firearms to kill the animals that damage crops.