A Chinese delegation has requested the Ministry of Agriculture to provide Sri Lankan monkeys to Zoos in China.
As per the said request, a special discussion was held today at the Ministry of Agriculture on dispatching 100,000 monkeys to China under the first phase of the programme.
The discussion headed by Mr.Mahinda Amaraweera, the Minister of Agriculture, was also attended by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of National Zoological Gardens, and Department of Wildlife Conservation.
During the discussion, the Minister of Agriculture stated that action should be taken to appoint a committee upon the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to study the existing legal conditions in exporting monkeys to a foreign country.
The Minister added that the said committee should comprise the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of National Zoological Gardens, Department of Wildlife Conservation and Attorney General’s Department.
A cabinet paper is to be prepared with regard to the appointment of this committee with immediate effect.
It was revealed that the current monkey population in Sri Lanka has reached nearly 3 million and monkeys are the major menace to local crops. The measures so far taken by the government to control the monkey population have become unsuccessful.
It has been confirmed by a research carried out by Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institution that monkeys are the major threat to crops. In accordance with a survey carried out in 250 Agrarian Development Areas, monkeys had caused total damages in 110 Agrarian Development Areas, severe damages in 235 areas and partial damages in 155 areas. The North Western Province records the maximum loss caused by monkeys.
It was emphasized during the discussion that taking in to account the damage caused by monkeys to crops in this country, the request made by China to export monkeys should be considered.