Friday, 17 August 2007

Malaysia has lifted a 23-year-old ban on trading monkeys

'It seems to me that the humans are where they should not be with their rapid urbanization. What about exporting a few of them?'
Philip Cordrey

Malaysia has lifted a 23-year-old ban on trading monkeys for research and food and is in talks with several countries including Japan for possible export, the New Straits Times reported Friday.

The ban "was lifted recently," it said, although adding that the government has to put in place trade quotas before issuing licenses to wildlife exporting firms.

Negotiations were already underway for possible exports of macaques to Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, the report said citing sources.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

As many as 10,000 Malaysian macaques were exported each year in the 1970s, mainly for laboratory research in the United States and Europe and to other countries as exotic food or pets, the report said, citing records.

The trade led to a drop in the macaque population and subsequently forced the government to impose the ban in the mid-1980s.

The report quoted an official as saying the macaque population has grown steadily since the ban and have now become a "nuisance and cause for many problems."

Rapid urbanization has also led to constant reports of humans getting attacked by the monkeys.

The official said it was better for the macaques to be exported than culled, the report said.