Sri Lanka’s plans to export 100,000 endangered toque macaque monkeys to China have been cancelled. The Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka, together with 30 petitioners who went to court against the proposal, were successful in stopping the planned export.
Animal rights and conservation activists protested that in May the Sri Lankan Agriculture minister announced the plan to export 100,000 endangered toque macaque monkeys (Macaca sinica) to a private Chinese company. The reddish-brown toque macaque is endemic to Sri Lanka and features in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of endangered animals. Animal protection activists warned that it was likely the monkeys would be used for vivisection, but Sri Lankan authorities initially said farmers view the three million toque macaques in the country as pests who damage crops, so they would not care that much where they go.
Four animal protection and conservation groups (The Wildlife and Nature Protection Society, Center for Environmental Justice, Federation of Environmental Organizations, and Rally for Animal Rights and Environment Sri Lanka) produced a statement saying that there are only 18 zoos in China, averaging out at 5,000 macaques per zoo, and this is why they suspected the real reason of the export is animal experimentation,
After the protests and official complaints, on 26th June 2023, the attorney general said the Department of Wildlife and Conservation had assured it that “they will not be taking steps to export monkeys to China… The case will be taken up before the Court of Appeal on 6th July to record the above undertaking given to the Court by the State.”
Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, PETA primate scientist, said “These macaques are individuals with families who live in tight-knit communities. Their lives matter, and so does their contribution to their forest home.”