TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In a meeting of the Executive Yuan Economic Committee this morning (May 21), Council of Agriculture Chairman, Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢), suggested that Taiwan's wild macaque problem can be "handled" by relocating the primates to Taiwan's various outlying islands.
In recent years, great efforts have been made to protect the Formosan rock macaque and the sika deer, and with much success. However, the fast growing population of these species has created a new threat to farmers and their crops as the animals' foraging interferes with farmers' harvests.
A special investigation is being carried out to address the loss incurred by farmers and aboriginal groups alike by these animals.
The first step will be to demote macaques and deer from their protected animal status to create flexible legislative space to manage them, according to UDN. After that, the committee plans to consult with experts to see what the best option would be for the animals and the farmers.
According to Article 21 of the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法), if an animal is endangering public safety and human welfare or jeopardizing crops or domestic animals, the committee has the right to allow the animal to be hunted or to be put down.
Many farmers say they can accept hunting the deer, however they do not favor hunting the macaques, said UDN.
Lin then proposed that the macaques be captured and re-released into the wild on Taiwan's outlying islands.
Certain members of the committee, like Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄), strongly oppose this idea. Chuang said, "This will absolutely not be welcome on my Xiaoliqiu (小琉球). How about you release them in your Yilan (宜蘭)?"
Lin responded that the topic requires further research before taking action.