Sri Lanka is Considering Exporting 100,000 Monkeys to Chinese Zoos


As a partial solution to the worst financial crisis in its history, Sri Lanka is considering exporting up to 100,000 native monkeys to Chinese zoos. However, animal rights groups are concerned about the large-scale deal.


The crowned macaque is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but it is a common monkey species on the island and is not protected.

While Sri Lanka typically bans the export of almost all live animals, China’s proposal comes as the country faces its worst economic crisis in history. According to Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, China asks for the monkeys distributed among about a thousand zoos. How much that would cost has not been released.

A local animal rights group argues that the last study on the macaque population is 40 years old. An estimated two to three million macaques live in Sri Lanka. “We want to know why they want so many monkeys, for meat, medical research or other reasons,” said Jagath Gunawardana of the Environment Foundation group.

The monkeys are considered pests in Sri Lanka because they destroy crops, loot villages for food and sometimes attack humans. According to Gunawardana, these conflicts are due to the loss of their habitat through urban or agricultural expansion.

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