The St. Maarten Nature Foundation announces that it will be conducting baseline surveys in order to determine the abundance and level of threat posed by invasive and exotic animals on the island. The study will focus primarily on the monkey and raccoon population on island. "We have increasingly been receiving complaints and reports of various animals but monkeys and raccoons in particular, causing problems for residents in various districts. Before we can make recommendations as to what can be done to control the population we first have to see how many of them are out there and what types of threats they pose to the health and safety of the general public," commented Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.
Many residents have been contacting the Nature Foundation regarding large groups of monkeys, possibly vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), acting aggressively towards residents and pets. The Nature Foundation has also received calls concerning raccoons overturning garbage bins in numerous districts. Attempts have been made in the past to capture raccoons in particular but the Foundation was unable to due to equipment limitations. However specialized equipment has been purchased and will be deployed when necessary. Both animals may act aggressively if they feel threatened and can also have a negative effect on our local flora and fauna. "We urge residents to not approach these animals and contact the Nature Foundation so we can record them. In the coming weeks we will be having various exchanges with experts in various locations who are used to dealing with monkeys, raccoons and other exotic invasive animals. Based on our research we will be coming with recommendations to the authorities as to what should be the best way to approach this problem," concluded Bervoets.
If a monkey, raccoon or any other unusual animal is observed contact the Nature Foundation at 5270490 or via