A pair of endangered monkeys has been put down by a British zoo due to their “aggressive behaviour”.
Officials at Newquay Zoo made the decision to destroy two of their three male black-crested macaques after the animals began constantly fighting with each other, claiming it was impossible to find the monkeys new homes.
However, their actions have been criticised by conservationists, with TV naturalist David Bellamy questioning the decision to put down any endangered animal.
“They must be mad. We have a duty to protect endangered species,” Mr Bellamy told the Daily Mail.
Alan Knight, chief executive of International Animal Rescue, said: “Our own work in Indonesia rehabilitating and releasing captive macaques back into the wild has proved the importance of allowing them to socialise for a considerable period of time in order to establish their own hierarchy within the group.”
“Captive animals are largely unable to behave and interact as they would in the wild, and that is when problems arise. It is hardly surprising that the male macaques started fighting. Living together in captivity doubtless caused them a huge amount of stress. The way to conserve endangered species like these is to give them greater protection in the wild, not to keep small numbers captive in completely unnatural conditions,” he added.
Defending the decision, the Zoo’s Curator, Stewart Muir, said: “The euthanasia came at the end of a lengthy consultation process with vets and our ethics committee. Everyone at the zoo is deeply upset. It was the last resort.”
The black-crested macaque is found in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi where it is at threat from both hunting and the destruction of its habitat, the newspaper reported.
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