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China wants to buy one lac monkeys from Sri Lanka

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Cash-strapped Sri Lanka is thinking about exporting 100,000 endangered monkeys to China, one of its major bilateral creditors, according to the agricultural ministry.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies the toque macaque, which is only found in Sri Lanka and is common there, as endangered. The proposed deal will take place while Sri Lanka confronts its greatest economic crisis ever and forbids almost all exports of live animals. Financial details were kept private.

Mahinda Amaraweera, the minister of agriculture, stated to AFP that “they want the monkeys for over 1,000 zoos they have across China.” I’ve assembled a committee to investigate the situation and choose the best course of action. Monkeys are seen negatively in Sri Lanka because they ruin crops, raid settlements in quest of food, and even attack people.

Sri Lanka delisted several species this year, allowing farmers to kill wild boars, peacocks, and all three of its species of monkeys.

A Sri Lankan nonprofit committed to animal welfare, The Environmental Foundation, criticised the proposed sale and recommended that a complete population study happen first because there hasn’t been a thorough survey of macaques in more than 40 years.

The foundation’s Jagath Gunawardana told reporters in Colombo, “We want to know why they want so many monkeys—whether it is for meat, medical research, or some other purpose. Despite being on the worldwide red list of endangered species, monkeys are not a protected species in Sri Lanka, according to Gunawardana. The IUCN did not immediately respond with a statement.

Official estimates for the number of toque macaques in Sri Lanka range from two million to three million.

Gunawardana cited the dwindling wild animal habitats caused by agricultural growth as one factor in the rise in human-animal conflict, particularly that with monkeys and elephants.

“We want to know why they want so many monkeys—whether it is for meat, medical research, or some other purpose,” said Jagath Gunawardana, the foundation’s executive director, to reporters in Colombo. According to Gunawardana, monkeys are not a protected species in Sri Lanka even though they are on the world’s red list of endangered species. The IUCN did not immediately make a remark in response.

Two million to three million toque macaques are thought to exist in Sri Lanka, according to official estimates.

As one reason for the rise in human-animal conflict, particularly that involving monkeys and elephants, Gunawardana blamed the shrinking wild animal habitats brought on by agricultural expansion.

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