The media reports that the Ministry of Agriculture has stated that by meeting the high demand in China for Sri Lanka’s monkeys (Toque macaque), the monkey population in Sri Lanka will be controlled.
It is reported that a Chinese delegation has requested the ministry to provide Sri Lankan monkeys for zoos in China, and there was a special discussion regarding sending one lakh monkeys to China under the first phase.
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera chaired the discussion and officials from the Department of Agriculture, National Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Department also participated. It is reported that the current monkey population in Sri Lanka has reached nearly 30 lakhs.
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera addressed the farmers and said that there is no other option but to control the monkey population known as Rilawa in Sri Lanka.
He said that monkeys are no longer on the list of protected species in Sri Lanka. Appointment of a committee to study the legal procedures for the program was also discussed.
This request from China has been made at a time when the local authorities have taken several measures to curb the monkey population.