The Sri Lankan government has announced that it will distribute air rifles to farmers to fight of an expanding population of monkeys and other animals that are destroying crops.
Speaking to reporters Sri Lanka’s Agricultural Minister Mahinda Amaraweera lashed out at environmental groups protecting the toque macaques monkeys and maintained that “if the crisis becomes worse standard rifles will have to be given”.
Yesterday, the government provided 268 air rifles to Sinhala farmers in Angunakolapelessa in the Southern province of Hambantota. Concerns have been raised over the disruption of rifles given the island’s history of ethnic tensions and pogroms against Tamils and Muslims.
Minister Amaraweera claimed that Chinese zoos had agreed to take in 100,000 toque macaques monkeys but were blocked by environmental organisations who had gone to the courts. He added that other countries had made similar offers.
He further criticised environmental organisations for allegedly proposing impractical ideas “hanging sarees around plantings, fixing metal plates on coconut trees and setting aside a quarter acre from each piece of farmed land”.
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