The St Kitts and Nevis Department of Agriculture has intensified its pest control efforts to address its growing monkey problem. Farmers have reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses after their crops were destroyed by Green Vervet monkeys.
Director of Agriculture Melvin James announced plans to form a Monkey Task Force to implement measures to address the damage being done by the cheeky pests.
He said: “In terms of farming, they’re a nuisance, we’ve noticed that they eat almost everything, cabbage, peppers, squash, pumpkin and watermelon. They even uproot cassava and sweet potatoes. On average we lose 100 metric tons of food every year. Food that would have otherwise been marketed. That has cost us quite a bit.”
It is hoped that the task force will serve to reduce the number of pests in the farming district.
He added that despite the damage they cause, the monkeys in St Kitts and Nevis shouldn’t be presented as all negative. He said: “They are an important part of the tourism product; a lot of people like to see them and pet them, and we also do very significant bio-medical research which makes the rounds worldwide.”
Steps to address the monkey problem are all part of a multi-million-dollar pest control plan which is being funded by the government.