Residents in San Juan Puerto Rico are upset about plans to introduce a 13,000 sq.ft. monkey breeding facility, for fears that monkeys will escape and overrun their island. Their fears are not unfounded since the coastal town of Lajas is currently plagued by monkeys that escaped several decades ago from research centers onother islands. Now authorities have permission to shoot and kill the ~1,000 running around the Lajas Valley that cause $300,000 a year in damage.
The farm under construction is the plan of the Mauritius-based company Bioculture, which traps and exports crab-eating macaques for various purposes. The monkeys are not native to Mauritius and were probably introduced in the 16th-17th century by Dutch explorers. Presently the invasive monkeys endanger native species, complicate conservation efforts, and are considered a pest to residents. Each exported monkey requires a $70 export fee that the government uses for conservation purposes.
Hundreds of people are signing a petition asking the governor of the U.S. Caribbean territory and its resident commissioner to halt the project. The Bioculture facility will hold at least 3,000 macaque monkeys that will be sold for up to $3,000 each and could be used to study various diseases including swine flu.