Friday, April 09, 2010

Uganda Plans To Kill Monkeys To Save Crops

A plan to kill monkeys on a group of Lake Victoria islands in Uganda in order to protect lucrative palm fruits was condemned on Thursday by critics who said the measure would harm tourism.

Palm crops on Kalangala islands have been destroyed as the monkey population has exploded, according to Nelson Basaalidde, who heads the Oil Palm Growers Trust.

"The issue is very, very serious right now. You can say (monkeys) are affecting 100 percent of some people's crops. That's why the district has come up with this policy," he said.

Farmers prefer less drastic tactics like scaring the monkeys away from the fruits using dogs, or capturing them and tying bells around their necks to be alerted when the primates are coming.

But the situation has worsened and local authorities declared the primates as vermin, making it legal to kill them.

Local government official David Balironda said the current policy is to pay one dollar for every monkey killed, payable upon presentation of the dead primate's tail.

Currently there are more monkeys than the 35 000 residents of the picturesque islands, a key tourist attraction for primate watching.

Full story here.

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