Environmental lawyer Dr. Jagath Gunawardana, while questioning the government’s recent decision to appoint a committee to study the export of 100,000 Toque monkeys to China, said that the current legal provisions do not permit the export of animals.
The Sri Lankan Toque monkey is an endemic species to Sri Lanka with two sub-species identified in the dry zone and the wet zone, Gunawardana explained.
“If monkeys which are causing crop damage are considered, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration.
The decision to export animals merely to prevent crop damage cannot be taken lightly. The decisions must be based on scientific studies and facts,” he said.
Gunawardana said questions like on what basis the number of monkeys to be exported will be selected, whether the monkeys would have suitable conditions in China, would also need to be considered before taking such decisions.
“Questions have emerged as to why such a large number of monkeys would be required even for zoological gardens in China. According to current legal provisions, animals can only be exported for conservation purposes or as an exchange programme with a zoological garden. It does not provide for animals to be exported for meat or for scientific study. It is completely illegal,” he said.
Source – Daily Mirror