The head of Sri Lanka’s environmental protection body warned that the first batch of 100,000 endangered monkeys from the cash-strapped country could be headed to testing labs in China, on Monday. media reports said.
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said last week that Sri Lanka plans to export 100,000 tokay macaques to China, one of its biggest bilateral lenders.
The Toque macaque is endemic to Sri Lanka and is classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Understandably, the move has alarmed environmentalists.
According to the Daily Mirror Lanka newspaper, Hemantha Vithanaj, executive director of the Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ), warned that the first batch of 100,000 endangered monkeys may be released from testing laboratories in China. Can be taken.
The report states that Vithanaj said that these monkeys can be used for testing cosmetic products and medical experiments.
Amaraweera had said that China’s request for 100,000 tokay macaques to be housed in more than 1,000 Chinese zoos could be considered considering the large macaque population in Sri Lanka.
Vithanage, however, rubbished the minister’s claims.
“According to the globally accepted criteria for the definition of zoos, there are only 18 zoos in China that fit the bill, averaging 5,000 monkeys per zoo, and Hence this claim is not credible,” he insisted.
The newspaper quoted Withanage as saying, “We do not have 100,000 toki monkeys in zoos. Therefore, this situation cannot be justified under the law in the country.”
Commenting on the government’s proposal to export monkeys to China, President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) general secretary Palitha Range Bandara said that if possible must also be exported.