Ministry Lifts Ban On Export Of Monkeys




Ministry Lifts Ban On Export Of Monkeys

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 17 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has lifted the ban on the export of long-tailed macaques, better known as long-tailed monkeys, in an effort to reduce the population of these primates in urban areas, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid announced Friday.

"The cabinet has decided to lift the ban which was imposed in 1984 on the capture and export of this type of monkeys. This is because we want to reduce the number of long-tailed monkeys in urban areas.

"These monkeys create havoc in urban areas, not only stealing food from houses but also attacking people, and this is a cause for worry. The lifting of the ban is only for peninsular Malaysia and does not cover Sabah and Sarawak," he told a news conference at his office here.

He said the ministry had done a non-detrimental study before lifting the ban and it had been decided that only monkeys in urban areas be caught and exported.

From the study, it was found that there were 258,406 long-tailed macaques living in urban areas in peninsular Malaysia while 483,747 live in the wild in the jungles.

The long-tailed macaque or Macaca fascicularis, is a primarily arboreal macaque native to Southeast Asia. Also called the Cynomolgus Monkey, it is used extensively in medical experiments, in particular those connected with neuroscience.

It has also been identified as a possible vector for Ebola virus, monkeypox and is a known carrier of B-virus (Herpesvirus simiae). Being "ecologically diverse", the macaque is found in a wide variety of habitats, including primary lowland rainforests, disturbed and secondary rainforests, and riverine and coastal forests of nipa palm and mangrove.

It easily adjusts to human settlements and can be a pest when around farms and villages. Typically it prefers disturbed habitats and forest periphery.

Azmi said the ministry had yet to decide on the mechanism to catch these monkeys and export them and it would most likely be done through a company.

"However, the Wildlife Department will be the monitoring body. We want to make sure that long-tailed monkeys in the wild are not disturbed. We also want to ensure that monkeys caught in urban areas are not ill treated in the process of export. These monkeys still are under the endangered list of animals, so we have to do this right.

"We do not want to be accused as cruel or abusing these primates. I'm aware that there would be some opposition to this move, not only locally, but also on the foreign front," he added.

However, he said, it was not possible for all the long-tailed monkeys in urban areas to be caught and exported and it was enough if only half of them were apprehended and exported.

He said that although many people would be emotional with this decision, something had to be done to control the population of these primates in urban areas as they were becoming a menace to society.

The Wildlife Department had over the last 20 years tried to reduce the number of long-tailed monkeys in urban areas through various methods like sterilisation but none worked, he added.

He said rapid development of housing estates had caused these highly adaptable monkeys to find a living in urban areas.

Bernama, 17 August 2007


Now I understand why people would like to associate bloggers with monkeys. I think it has something to do with the above. We hear that person accusing and labeling bloggers, even the former Prime Minister as monkeys, and more. What more can I say?

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