The Attorney General today informed the Court of Appeal that the decision to export 100,000 Toque Macaque monkeys to China will be stopped.
Deputy Solicitor General Manohara Jayasinghe, appearing for the Wildlife Department, made this revelation when a writ petition filed challenging the proposed capture and exportation of Toque Macaque monkeys to China came before the Court of Appeal.
President’s Counsel Sanjeeva Jayawardena, appearing for the animal rights organisations and animal rights activists, told the court that he was glad to hear this positive response from the authorities. “I am very happy to hear this; if not, these monkeys will end up in Chinese restaurants’, Jayawardena said.
Meanwhile, Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC moved the authorities to communicate this decision in written format. The petition was accordingly fixed for July 7 by the Court of Appeal’s two-judge bench, comprising Justices Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and M.A.R. Marikkar.
Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera had recently publicly announced that the Government is considering a request by the Chinese Government to export 100,000 Toque Macaque Monkeys, which are endemic to Sri Lanka, to China, ostensibly for display at Chinese zoos.
Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka, Rally for Animal Rights and Environment, Justice for Animals, Rescue Animals Sri Lanka, animal welfare advocate Otara Gunewardene, Ven. Matara Ananda Sagara Thero, Rukshan Amal Jayewardene, Sonali Fernando, Iromi Ahilya Salgado, Dumindra Rajith Ratnayaka, Sharadha Manorama de Saram, Stefanie Wege-AAluwihare, Pushpadeva Dharmawardena, Randika Prabodha Fernando, Christine Bianca Shivanthi Perera, Tara Dilkushi Wickramanayake, Bandula Pathmasiri Panapitiya, Rushika Nadiya De Lanerolle, Jayamaha Mudalige Don Irangani, Wijenayake Pathiranage Wipulasena, Thanthirige Pasidu Nirosh, Vimukthi Buddika, Hiruni Maleesha Gunawardene, Iraki Lankika Kodithuwakku, Shanthi Wickranayake, Chandani Perera, Shashi Udeni Perera, Umanga Hyacinth, Manoja Jayaswini Weerakkody, and M.S. Chandrabosh filed this petition challenging the Minister’s decision to export 100,000 Toque Macaque Monkeys.
The petitioners stated that there are three recognised subspecies of the endemic toque macaque: the dry zone toque macaque (M.s. Sinica), the wet zone toque macaque (M.s. aurifrons), and the highland toque macaque (M.s. opisthomelas) in Sri Lanka. The 1977 survey estimated there were 439,000 macaques in the dry zone, 150,000 in the lowland wet zone, and 1,500 individuals of the mountain subspecies.
The petitioners are seeking an order in the nature of a Writ of Certiorari quashing any decisions of the respondents in approving or permitting the exportation of toque macaque monkeys from Sri Lanka to China.
The Petitioners maintained that Sri Lankan wildlife is protected under the provisions of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (FFPO) No. 02 of 1937, and Section 40 of the FFPO provides that no person shall export any mammal, bird,reptile, amphibian, fish, coral, or invertebrate, whether dead or alive, except under the authority of a permit issued in the prescribed form obtained from the prescribed officer on payment of the prescribed fee.
The petitioners further said such a permit shall not be issued except for the promotion of scientific knowledge, including
supplies to foreign museums and foreign zoological gardens in exchange for supplies to local museums or local zoological gardens.