In a controversial move, Sint Maarten, a country in the Caribbean, sanctioned a plan to cull the population of vervet monkeys in its entirety after the species was termed a “nuisance” by the locals in the Dutch island territory.


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Over 450 monkeys face death

As per a Guardian report, the local government aims to catch and euthanise at least 450 vervet monkeys over the next three years. 

The government-funded task to eliminate the primates has been undertaken by an NGO named Nature Foundation St Maarten. 

In December, Sint Maarten’s ministry of tourism, economic affairs, transportation and telecommunication approved 100,000NAf ($55,000) in funding per year for the project. 

The plan to execute monkeys came after farmers complained that they were “raiding their crops and destroying their livelihood.” 

Government-funded plan facing criticism


However, this plan has raised a lot of criticism and the detractors believe that neutering might be a better way to handle the rising numbers of the monkey species. 

But the NGO assigned with the task believes that vervet monkeys, not native to the island, don’t have predators, thereby making the task of controlling their population size difficult. 

Dave Du Toit, the founder of the Vervet Monkey Foundation, told the publication that the cull is an improbable solution to the problem. 

Du Toit’s non-profit operation deals with sheltering orphaned and injured primates in South Africa, where the species is native. 

He suggests that a better proposition is vasectomy for males and sterilisation of females. 

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He also said that research into food disposal practices and food availability for wildlife could lead to a more harmonious existence between the monkeys and the residents of Sint Maarten. 

On the contrary, a different approach has been recommended by Eusebio Richardson, a ranger with the Nature Foundation. 

Richardson thinks, with the rapid reproduction among the species, relocation is the best-suited option to protect the island’s biodiversity. 

Vervet monkeys introduced to region in 17th century

Vervet monkeys, distinguished by their spotted grey-brown bodies and black faces bounded with white fur, are native to southern and eastern Africa. 

The species was introduced to the region sometime in the 17th century by European settlers who kept them as exotic pets.  

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