PHILIPSBURG--More than forty animal welfare organisations, including the Humane Society International/Europe, World Animal Protection NL, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Netherlands, the Vervet Monkey Foundation and the Born Free Foundation, have co-signed a letter from Animal Advocacy and Protection (AAP) to the government of St. Maarten calling for refraining from euthanising the island’s vervet monkeys.
These monkeys were brought to the island by humans in the past. The animal welfare organisations support AAP’s call for sterilisation and ways to reduce the nuisance in an animal-friendly manner.
The presence of the growing population of vervet monkeys is considered a nuisance because the smart animals forage in orchards, gardens and homes, and are said to be harmful to native wildlife. A study by Nature Foundation St. Maarten concluded in June 2021 that the two options to stop this are sterilisation or culling.
The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) made funds available in December 2022 that enable the foundation to execute the recommended lethal approach. AAP and the other international organisations are pushing for the animal-friendly alternative to curb the nuisance.
In their letter, the organisations point out that there is international consensus on wildlife control principles, as published in Conservation Biology in 2017.
Interventions like this one in St. Maarten should follow these principles, which prioritise non-lethal methods over lethal ones.
In the letter, AAP offers its expertise and resources to enable a so-called “Trap, Neuter, Release” project. AAP hopes that the initiative leads to the start of a constructive cooperation with the Nature Foundation.