Gully tour and green monkey study to be undertaken
BARBADOS’ GULLY ASSESSMENT programme is to be revived, and a new study of the Green Monkey undertaken.
This is according to Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr Denis Lowe, whose Ministry is in the process of planning a tour of some of the island’s gullies to assess not just the monkey population, but also the degradation of the land.
Such a study, Dr Lowe pointed out, would involve placing electronic devices on monkeys to track their movements.
“We will do a genuine scientific study. Monkeys don’t leave their troops and they are very territorial,” he explained.
Of particular concern to the Minister was the lack of information on the monkeys. Noting what was driving public reaction was the fact that the monkeys were encroaching on human spaces, crops and persons’ peace of mind, the Minister stressed it was still not known if they traversed human spaces and returned to their habitat.
“We are still not sure what impact we are having on their natural habitat, and I suspect that a lack of food and water is affecting them,” he suggested.
The primary source of food for monkeys is fruits such as mangoes, bananas, cashews and fat pork, while they often drink water from brooks that run through the gullies.
The Minister of the Environment explained the ultimate goal of the Green Monkey study was to avoid their death, especially in light of the $20 per tail bounty. He further suggested consideration could be given to selectively sterilising some males to slow the growth of the population.
While part of the tour will focus on the monkey population, it will also allow officials to get a first-hand view of the state of the island’s gullies as it relates to illegal dumping, as well as to assess the biodiversity stock in the gully system.
“We also need to do a tree assessment to see how many trees are dying, and requirements for a tree replanting programme,” Dr Lowe noted. (BGIS)