In Sint Maarten, the government has approved a controversial plan to eradicate the entire population of vervets, a type of monkey. Non-native monkey species can cause significant inconvenience. Opponents of the plan say there are better options. At the end of January, the Orangemen will visit the Caribbean Islands. The theme of nature is also on the agenda.
The Government of Sint Maarten has asked the Nature Foundation St. “When a species establishes itself in an area it is not native to, often there are no predators to control the population,” said Leslie Hickerson, director of the foundation. “Nature management is an important aspect of maintaining the health of the island for those who come after us.”
The plan was widely criticized. This is what sterilization and environmental management should look like, rather than such a drastic measure. Vervet, distinguished by its gray-brown body and black face with white fur, is native to southern and eastern Africa, but is also found in some Caribbean islands. The population in these places has grown to tens of thousands of monkeys.
Monkeys were introduced to the area around the 17th century when European settlers supposedly brought them as exotic pets. Research conducted by Nature St Maarten in 2020 showed that there are around 450 vervet monkeys living on Sint Maarten.
In a recent study, the first numbers indicate a significant increase. “The number of monkeys on St Martin will continue to increase if measures are not taken, and the consequences for St Maarten’s indigenous ecosystems will be severe,” says Nature St Martin.
I think the best and most generally accepted method is male and female sterilization
Better options, powerful search
Farmers often complain about the monkeys because they “loot their crops and destroy their livelihoods,” according to the foundation. But according to Dave Du Toit, founder of the Vervet Monkey Foundation in South Africa, where the species is native, culling probably won’t work. He told the British newspaper, “I think that the best method and most acceptable to the public is the sterilization of males and females.” Watchman.
According to Du Toit, there are options for a more harmonious existence between the monkeys and the inhabitants of Sint Maarten: “This requires research into the availability of food for wild animals, but this does not happen.” According to him, it is also necessary to check the natural areas that can be used without being disturbed by animals.
Orange even in the Caribbean
At the end of January, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Amalia will leave for the Caribbean Islands. For two weeks they will visit Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The history of slavery, local culture, and nature, among other things, are central to the visit. It was Princess Amalia’s first introduction to the islands.
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