Earlier this week, we were overjoyed to get the news from our colleagues at the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) that Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife and Conservation had confirmed that they will not export monkeys to China, which had been proposed earlier in the year.
WNPS’s statement reads:
In response to a previous statement made by Hon. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera stating that there were plans being made to export toque macaque monkeys from Sri Lanka to China, 30 petitioners including the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka filed action before the Court of Appeal seeking Writ of Certiorari, quashing any decision to export toque macaque monkeys from Sri Lanka to China.
When this matter was taken up today the honourable Attorney General appeared and stated in open court that they have received instructions from the Department of Wildlife and Conservation 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.
We see this to be a significant achievement in the advancement of wildlife conservation.
President’s Counsel Sanjeeva Jayawardena with counsels Prashanthi Mahindaratne, Dilumi De Alwis, Lakmini Warusevitane and Rukshan Senadira instructed by attorney-at-law Amila Kumar appeared for the Petitioners.
In April of this year, news broke that a Chinese company had proposed to Sri Lankan ministers that the country capture and send them 100,000 Endangered toque macaques, ostensibly for placement in Chinese zoos. Such a move would have been disastrous for the survival of the species, which can only be found in Sri Lanka, and of course for the thousands of individuals involved. Moreover, animal advocates, wildlife trade experts and primatologists agreed that it was unlikely that monkeys were, in fact, destined for lives in zoos, but that their import to China was more likely intended to supply the biomedical research and pharmaceutical testing industries. After consultation with various Sri Lankan organizations and species experts, the Asia for Animals Coalition (AfA) released a statement in support of the efforts of Wildlife & Nature Protection Society, Centre for Environmental Justice, Federation of Environmental Organizations, and RARE Sri Lanka to ensure that the proposed export did not become a reality.
Following weeks of waiting, we celebrate the decision to not export these Endangered macaques, who will remain wild in Sri Lanka, their natural home.
Our hearty congratulations to all of the organizations and people that worked so hard on this issue!