Best Practices in Green Monkey Deterrence: A Manual for Farmers in Barbados
Credit: Kevin Best (2020)


The issue of the introduced green monkey in Barbados is a frequent topic of discussion nationally.  While the green monkey population must be controlled to ensure that Barbados has a thriving agricultural sector, the monkey is also an interesting component of Barbados’ rather depleted biodiversity and is a tourist attraction. The species is also listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Due to a spike in complaints with regard to the crop damage by green monkeys in early 2019, the Minister of Environment and National Beautification requested the reconvening of the Green Monkey Sub-committee of the Working Group on Biodiversity, and declared that the concerns of farmers had become a national priority.

Various stakeholders from biodiversity conservation agencies, animal rights groups, agriculture development agencies and tourism management were assembled to chart a way forward and develop an action plan that was informed by accurate data.   It was agreed however, that in the interim, there was a need for short-term measures to be devised to address the immediate problems faced by citizens; especially impacted farmers and the residents of areas frequently visited by troops.

The Ministry’s Response

Coming out of discussion of the Green Monkey Sub-committee meetings, the Ministry of Environment commissioned Mr Justin Springer of Mosaic Ecoconsult, to develop A Manual for Farmers in Barbados, with the aim to provide information for farmers experiencing losses from crop raiding Green monkeys.

The manual consists of a review of techniques used both locally and internationally to deter monkeys from raiding cultivated foods. The aim of the manual is to describe methods that farmers can try to reduce monkey crop damage, not methods to reduce monkey numbers.  It is envisioned that Barbadian farmers can try the various methods, according to their situation, to gain relief from monkeys affecting crop production.

Contribution to Covid-19 Response

The effects of the novel corona virus can be felt at the national, regional and global levels.  The mitigation of challenges to food security has been identified as being among one of the top priorities globally and is especially topical for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Barbados.  As a SIDS, Barbados has limited land space to support the high demand for the different uses for its dense population. Like other SIDS, Barbados imports most of its food and other products.  As part of its Covid-19 response plan, the Government of Barbados has made a concerted effort towards the bolstering of agricultural productivity and the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management Section, aims to support these goals through these efforts.

Download the Farmers’ Manual Now

16 responses to “Best Practices in Green Monkey Deterrence: A Manual for Farmers in Barbados”

  1. […] The manual may be downloaded at the Biodiversity Conservation and Management’s website. […]

  2. Everick Holder says:

    First thing.
    The web address is far too long. Too easy to make mistakes and cause aggravation by not getting it right. SHORTEN IT PLEASE.

  3. Sharon says:

    Firstly, to promote agriculture yet protect the green monkey makes no sense. This is not just about professional farmers. What about the ordinary man, woman and child who want to grow their own fruit and vegetables? This rather simple and natural task is made almost impossible by the presence of the green monkey. They should not have to get dogs (have you seen a dog mauled by monkeys – not pretty). They shouldn’t have stand guard. Perhaps they cannot afford electric fences, built environments etc. They have a patch of land and they just want to be able to grow their own.

    Green monkeys are an alian invasive species. Barbados must be one of the few countries in the world that believes it should protect an alien invasive species. Barbados needs to understand the actual and potential damage to its biodiversity caused by the green monkey. This fact is mentioned in your PDF document.

    CITES does not exist to protect alien invasive species. Its mandate covers the trade in endangered species to prevent those species from becoming more endangered and/or extinct in their natural habitat. Are you seriously suggesting that this somehow applies to the green monkey in Barbados?

    Then, to suggest the monkeys are a tourist attraction! Bizarre! People do not visit Barbados to see the monkeys. Plus putting our biodiversity at risk for the entertainment of foreign tourists is nothing short of shameful. Also to suggest that the monkey adds to our depleted biodiversity is seriously missing the point. The monkeys are killing and eating native birds and bird eggs, not to mention lizards and butterflies. The monkeys are having a negative effect on our biodiversity. Wake up! If this continues, our whole ecosystem will be devastated even more. What will happen if the bird population vanishes? What about the butterflies and the lizards? WE NEED TO ACT FOR OURSELVES, INCLUDING OUR FARMERS. BUT WE MUST ALSO ACT TO SAVE OUR BIODIVERSITY.
    This does NOT include the green monkey.

    In the early 19th century people were writing about monkeys being pests. Two hundred years later and the monkeys are still here.
    Our birdlife has already been decimated by the introduction of the mongoose and the monkey. I am in disbelief that an agency calling itself Biodiversity Conservation and Management believes the green monkey needs protection and conservation. It is, I repeat, an alien invasive species! Barbadians need to act with their heads. Alien invasive species are good for nobody, no country and certainly not good for efforts to conserve and protect our already depleted indigenous biodiversity. Biodiversity Conservation – that title is a bad joke.

    • welly says:

      The best remedy is for the monkey lovers and those who don’t have any crops for these pest to destroy to be made to compensate farmers for the losses they encounter while trying to make a living from their hard work. That means that the agencies who are in favor of these pest being in existence should be required to deposit with the Ministry of Agriculture enough money to compensate farmers for the losses ‘their attractions’ cause.

    • Bob says:

      A well thought out an insightful comment. Signatories to he CBD commit to eradicating or controlling Invasive Alien Species. It is clear that the monkeys are still invasive and impacting livelihoods and the environment and the wider economy. I remember visiting in 2006 when of Barbados was out of electricity for more than half a day because a monkey tripped some key electricity line. Signatories to the CBD have committed to the eradication or control of Invasive Species. The monkeys should not be seen as part of Barbados’ valuable biodiversity but at worst a definite threat to it or at least a conflict species (with possible benefits only to tourism and medical sectors). Work must be done soonest to quantify its impact on the current biodiversity and determine the best strategy for management in the future.

    • Sassie says:

      Sharon, I think that your response is powerful and persuasive, and if it doesn’t attract the attention of the ‘powers-that-be’, I don’t know what will?!

  4. Niels says:

    Green Monkeys are a problem not only for farming but also for native birds. Has there been any thoughts give to use of long lasting contraceptives (could be transferred to the monkey by air guns) to limit the population size? I am fairly positive that the monkey in the past were hunted for their meat, but also that they probably are not hunted at the moment.

  5. William Brace says:

    In a discussion with my brother, he suggested he that the planting of fruit trees (mango, cherry, plum, golden apple and others) in and around the gullies would ensure their survival as well as give them a food source near to their habitat that would encourage them not to have to roam, looking for food.
    It sounds simplistic, but I think it may work.

    • Bob says:

      This is not a solution. The unintended consequence could be an increase in their population leading to even greater losses in the future.

  6. Bentley Beckles says:

    I now await a manual of curbing the excessive damage by the “two foot” monkeys, who I do believe cause more losses to farmers than the monkeys

    • Pet says:

      You hit the nail on the head. Everybody is pointing their fingers to the monkeys as the “thieves” but we all know that a much greater damage and loss is being done by those thieves and what do we do?? We support them by buying their stolen goods at their highway set up. And back to blaming the monkeys.

  7. DM says:

    I live in the St.Thomas area and I remember the days (18 months ago) when one monkey would come up from the gully and come onto my property and raid the sugar apple (picking and biting the green ones and tossing them and papayas). As of last week, I counted 14 green monkeys adults (with babies) and infants. They raid the Okras, pull up and eat the corn stalks and decimate the sugar apples. I have spent more money on coverings to keep them out than reaping from the garden. Even the bigger birds are swooping down at the monkeys in disgust!!! If visitors want to see monkeys, they can go to the wildlife reserve or zoo. It is time to rid the country of this menace otherwise (jokingly) we run the risk of “planet of the apes”!!!

  8. Hyacinth says:

    These monkeys have eaten everything I have planted including hot peppers, okra, sweet peppers, chives, watermelons, squash. They even pulled up the sweet potatoes slips. I have now resorted to putting down newspapers around the slips because every thing else is now devoured. There is a gully behind me and I would be more than happy for help in planting some fruit trees in there for them. At the same time, we have to be be very careful planting in gullies for the monkeys because there are some men who reap what they don’t sow and sell them on the highway. This practice too, needs to be stopped. There is, however, a market for it or it would have been discontinued. It should be discouraged at all levels.

  9. Paul says:

    The population is exploding and the current conditions are only going to get worse unless some immediate action is taken. The solution nobody likes to hear about but a viable one is to cull them by having professional hunters shoot them. A second a longer term approach may be to research the possibility to feed them a drug that acts a a permanent birth control, I read that such a drug exists…. could it be used on monkeys, Where to get it, what is the cost, Is it safe….. worth the effort to look into. Maybe a combination ok cull and drug

  10. […] The Chief Agricultural Officer pointed out that last year a Best Practices in Green Monkey Deterrence manual for farmers was prepared, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, and the activities have been used successfully by them, depending on their locations. The document, she added, is available free for download at […]

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