Tue, Jun 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Macaques lose protected species status, COA says

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday decided to remove Formosan rock macaques and seven other species from its list of protected species, while adding 17 species to it.

The council’s Forestry Bureau yesterday convened a five-hour meeting with experts to discuss the classification of wildlife, with the protection status of macaques being one of the most heatedly debated issues.

Among the 17 species being added to the list are the Taiwan rosefinch, the long-tailed pigeon and the Formosan yuhina, the bureau said.

GENERAL WILDLIFE

Eight formerly protected species, including the macaques, the Formosan Reeve’s muntjac and the masked palm civet have been reclassified as general wildlife, it said.

“The decision has nothing to do with agricultural losses [caused by animals], which is another issue,” bureau Director-General Lin Hwa-ching (林華慶) said, adding that the living conditions and distribution of wildlife are the bureau’s main concerns.

The bureau would also initiate monitoring plans for those species, Lin added.

A study in 2000 suggested that there were between 250,000 and 300,000 macaques, while other evidence suggests that their number has been growing steadily, said National Tunghai University Department of Life Sciences professor Lin Liang-kong (林良恭), who attended the meeting.

However, a more comprehensive survey about the species’ living conditions is needed, he added.

FARM RAIDS

While many farmers have complained about monkey raids, only a few of them have harmed the animals, because they think the macaques look like humans, Lin Liang-kong said, adding that experts have been helping farmers install electric fences around their farms to keep out wild animals.

People who hunt protected animals could face a prison term of between six months and five years or a fine between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million (US$6,577 and US$32,891) for breaching the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法), bureau Conservation Division Director Hsia Jung-sheng (夏榮生) said.

People who hunt non-protected animals could face a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000 under the act, she said.

The bureau needs to finish related paperwork before it can formally announce the changed protection statuses of wildlife, Hsia added.

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