In the eastern Caribbean, the government of Sint Maarten has approved a plan to exterminate its entire population of vervet monkeys, a species deemed invasive on the Dutch territorial island.
The St. Maarten Nature Foundation’s Invasive Species Project will entrap and euthanize more than 450 monkeys inhabiting the island.
Authorities from the nature foundation say that since the species isn't native to the island, it has no natural predators to keep population sizes in check. The monkeys are also detrimental to the native ecosystem of the island, threatening bird populations and destroying the livelihoods of farmers by raiding crops.
The Nature Foundation began working with the vervet population in 2020. Their work led to the development of a population management plan that was ultimately approved in June 2022. This allowed the organization to begin capturing the monkeys with a hired ranger.
Vervet monkeys are native to southern and eastern Africa but can also be found in some Caribbean islands as well as in some places in South America.
The species is believed to have been first introduced to the region in the 17th century when European settlers were said to have imported the monkeys to be traded as exotic pets.
Narrative A, as provided by Republic World. Species management is an important aspect of keeping the island of Sint Maarten healthy. While regrettable, in order to do this the vervet monkey population needs to be culled to avoid it growing out of control. The species is prolific and not in danger of going extinct. Culling the monkey population is the best plan possible.
Narrative B, as provided by Guardian. Exterminating the entire vervet monkey population is unnecessary and cruel. The population can be kept in check in other ways by sterilizing the existing monkeys, or better managing resources to prevent them from turning to endangered bird eggs or destroying agriculture. A harmonious existence between the monkeys and humans on the island is possible.