$25 per monkey!
Bounty hunters are calling for an increase in the $15 fee paid to them for shooting monkeys.
They say only a $25 fee per kill will suffice if the venture is to be taken seriously.
There are about ten bounty hunters in Barbados, and Sean Banfield, a master shooter and member of the Barbados Rifle and Pistol Federation, says it is just not worth the effort.
“We spend approximately $150 per day hunting monkeys; this consists of ammo and petrol. We spend hours in the field at any one time before we can make a kill. On other occasions, we can kill approximately 35 monkeys in one day,” he said, adding the average hunting day could run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Another bounty hunter, Jean-Marc Cozier, agreed with Banfield, adding that the bounty had not been increased since 1982.
Cozier said that in 1999 a survey was done through the Barbados Wildlife Reserve showing the monkey population at about 28 000. This number, he estimated, had more than doubled today, based on his experience in the field.
Banfield, however, said the number of hunters was just too small to have any real impact on the monkey population. He added that all hunters must acquire a licence from the Ministry of Agriculture and must have a gun licence in order to legally qualify as a bounty hunter.
However, Dr Lennox Chandler, Chief Agricultural Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, said any issue pertaining to the culling of monkeys was not straightforward.
Recently, chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul, complained about the serious damage the primates were doing to crops, and appealed for something to be done about the growing population.
His call came at a time when small farmers were crying out for help as the monkeys continued to destroy their crops. (JB)