The Ministry of Agro-Industry and Fisheries has given the green light to the Biosphere Trading Company (BTC) to operate a Monkey Breeding Farm in the region of Grand Bassin, 40 km from the capital, Port Louis, APA learns here.
The farm, which has received the authorisation to export some 1500 macaque monkeys per year to the United States, will in the first year export 1200 primates which have been captured in the nearby forests. However, in the following years, all exported monkeys will have to come from the breeding farm.
Speaking to the press Monday at the BTC farm, the Head Monkey Trapper (HMT), Mr Mohun Gopaul explained that the animals will be used in US laboratories as guinea pigs for biomedical researches on such diseases as Parkinsons, malaria, Alzheimer and AIDS. "The breeding of these primates will be carried out under humane conditions. We are following the guidelines of the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the International Primatological Society. All primates will be tested for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in our animal hospital prior to export," added Mr Gopaul.
The HMT pointed out that the government has set certain guidelines that his company will have to adhere to, mainly that the company will have to contribute US$70 to the ’Conservation Fund’ for each primate that its exports. The fund has been established by the government for the protection and feeding of animals in the wild in the form of the installation of food boxes for birds and wild deer. The fund is expected to grow to US$1 million in the next few years.
Mr Gopaul pointed out that Mauritius should focus in those areas where it enjoys a comparative advantage, especially in the field of animal breeding. "The country is well known for its ’disease-free status’ as compared to other competing countries affected by monkey diseases," underlined Mr Gopaul.