Why in news?
Recently, Sri Lanka confirmed China's request for importing 1,00,000 endangered monkeys from the cash-strapped island nation, amidst protests from environmental groups against the deal.
More on news:
- Sri Lanka bans almost all live animal exports but the proposed sale comes at a time when the country is facing its worst-ever economic crisis.
- The cash-strapped island nation has removed several species from its protected list this year, including all three of its monkey species as well as peacocks and wild boars, allowing farmers to kill them.
- The toque macaque is known to destroy crops in several parts of Sri Lanka, and even sometimes attacks people.
- Authorities in Sri Lanka have pegged the monkey population in the country between two to three million.
- Meanwhile, China's embassy in Colombo said that it is unaware of Sri Lanka exporting “100 thousand” of “endangered” toque macaque monkeys to a Chinese private company for “experimental purposes”.
- Citing China as one of the top countries in the world in terms of wildlife protection legislation and law enforcement, the embassy said that the country has already adopted its Wildlife Protection Law in 1988 with several amendments afterwards and is a contracting party of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
- The toque macaque is a reddish-brown-coloured Old World monkey endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is known as the rilewa or rilawa. Its name refers to the whorl of hair at the crown of the head, reminiscent of a brimless toque cap.
- The toque macaque is listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat destruction and hunting, and also for the pet trade. Much of the original forested habitat of the toque macaque has been lost, between 1956 and 1993 50% of Sri Lanka's forest cover was destroyed. Plantations and fuel wood collection have been the main drivers of habitat lost.
- Wild cats (leopards and fishing cats) and Indian rock python are the main predators of this species.