DENR addressing human-primate strife on case-by-case basis–exec

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), is addressing human-macaque conflict on a case-by-case basis “with the most humane approach possible.”

This was the assurance by DENR Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon in response to an appeal made by an animal-rights activist in response to government’s plan to allow capture of native monkeys on an island in Romblon Province for research and development purposes.

Responding to NE dim C. Byukmihci, emeritus professor of Veterinary Medicine at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Calderon said the position of the DENR is that the removal of macaques, or any wildlife, in conflict with humans is considered as the last resort after all other measures had been exhausted in consideration of the welfare of both humans and wildlife.

According to Calderon, the concurrent director of the BMB, other approaches to addressing human-macaque conflict are forest restoration, appropriate disposal of wastes, and the massive public awareness campaign on avoiding interaction with macaques.

“As we endeavor to achieve human-wildlife co-existence, rest assured that the future actions of this bureau on the sustainable use of wildlife resources shall be guided by the national wildlife conservation law and regulation and in accordance with the Multilateral Environment Agreements to which the Philippines is a party,” he said.

A leading animal-rights activist and expert on veterinary medicine, Byukmihci, who was speaking on behalf of the group Action for Primates, earlier appealed to the DENR to reject applications for a special permit to harvest native monkeys from the wild.

He also asked the DENR to scrap the plan of allowing the export of monkeys for research and development purposes in reaction to a BusinessMirror story, entitled “DENR official sees revival of native monkey farming amid global virus contagion.”

In the story published on April 2, Calderon bared the plan to allow the capture of long-tailed macaques (macaca fascicularis spp. Philippensis) on Banton Island Romblon, where the monkey population has grown alarmingly big as they reportedly start to cause trouble such as raiding small farms.

To address the problem, Calderon bared the plan to allow harvesting of monkeys as he is also eyeing the revival of monkey farms in the country, especially because of an expected demand for live specimens by research institutions outside the country to develop cures to deadly virus and diseases like the  coronavirus disease, or Covid-19.

Native monkeys are aggressive and potential carriers of deadly viruses like Ebola, the DENR said.

According to Calderon, the population of macaques in a small island in Romblon is one challenging case of human-macaque conflict arising from introduced macaques which proliferated over time.

“The implementation of the Wildlife Act prohibiting the hunting of wildlife, absence of natural predators and the abundance of food from cultivated lands in the island apparently contributed to the substantial increase in their numbers where impact to crop production urged communities to appeal for more aggressive measures in addition to the avoidance measures already in place,” he said.

“This is the context from which the idea of removal of macaque individuals in the island for captive-breeding purposes stemmed from [including translocation given an available suitable habitat],” Calderon explained further.

In a telephone interview, he also assured animal-rights groups that the DENR will not allow harmful means in capturing the native monkeys, while wild and monkey farm operators will be strictly monitored during captive-breeding operations.

“We monitor these farms and there is an agreement that only the offspring will be exported for research purposes,” he said.

He added that eventually, these monkeys are being released back into the wild after some time.

“We will not allow extreme cases where these monkeys are harmed. Remember, we are also into rescue of threatened wildlife,” he said.

As for fate of the progeny, or offspring, that are exported for scientific research, he said reports of torture, or maltreatment of animals, are “extreme cases” and there are international laws that provide adequate protection to live specimens like monkeys.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

Some workers may not be entitled to receive holiday pay on Labor Day

Next Article

Neda’s Chua says PHL economy ready to handle Covid-19, Taal eruption crises

Related Posts

Read more

SRA to sell seized smuggled sugar at Kadiwa stalls starting this month   

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) will be selling confiscated smuggled sugar in Kadiwa stalls starting April, an official said on Friday. 

“We already have the approval for the donation of the sugar that we seized for the Kadiwa for sale. Last week, we were just discussing the documentation and the legalities so we can sell it right away,” Pablo Luis Azcona, SRA board member said.