NGO Says Business Is Threat to Wild Monkeys

A Kompong Chhnang province monkey farm could endanger wild macaque monkeys by en­cour­aging wildlife hunters to catch more of them, Mak Si­thirth, director of the Fisheries Ac­tion Co­alition Team, an environmental NGO, said Wednes­day.

Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun issued a license to Vietcam Corporation Import Export in March to collect and buy the monkeys from areas of Pursat province near the Tonle Sap lake.

Chap Saroeun, deputy director of the Pursat provincial Agri­culture Department, said the com­pany intended to catch 300 macaque monkeys in Pursat.

He said fewer than that were cap­tured because local villagers voiced their objections in Oc­tober, putting a halt to the round-up. But the farm, located in Kom­pong Chhnang district’s Pha’ae commune, now has about 600 monkeys, Kompong Chhnang provincial Governor Sou Phirin said Wednesday.

Provincial officials and police in­spected the farm Tuesday. Sou Phirin said officials continue to investigate the company to see if it is complying with environmental regulations.

A copy of a letter from Chan Sa­run to the company shows the minister authorized the company to feed and breed the monkeys, and that the offspring would eventually be exported.

So far, no monkeys have been sold abroad, Sou Phirin said. Officials did not say for what purpose the monkeys would be ex­ported. Chan Sarun could not be reached for comment Wednes­d­ay, as he was in Bang­kok at a meeting on the regional bird flu outbreak.

In his letter, Chan Sarun wrote that the company should ensure the monkeys are living in an environment similar to their original habitat, with large cages.


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