From: Associated Press
Published May 9, 2005 12:00 AM

Puerto Rico Draws up Proposal to Eradicate and Control Non-Native Monkeys

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Environmental authorities have drawn up a proposal to control and eradicate non-native species of monkeys who are harming agriculture and endangering native species, officials said Friday.


The proposal seeks to capture about 2,000 patas and rhesus monkeys in southwestern Puerto Rico and relocate as many as possible to zoos, laboratories or refuges in the United States, said Marylina Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources. Those who can not be relocated will be euthanized with a lethal injection, she said.


The proposal, which would cost an estimated US$2.5 million (euro1.93 million), will be submitted to the Puerto Rican legislature for funding approval.


The monkeys were brought to the U.S. Caribbean territory in for scientific experiments in the 1970s and 80s and gradually escaped.


Officials say they damage pumpkin, melon and other fruit crops and eat the eggs of the endangered mariquita bird.


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Some also carry the Herpes B virus, which can be fatal to humans.


Source: Associated Press


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