By Michael Evans
Eight restaurants and hotels in Zixi, Jiangxi province, have been shut down after a CCTV investigative report showed that several local eateries had been offering endangered rhesus monkeys on their menus.
One restaurant, Laolou Lobster, in downtown Zixi opens only at night and serves a variety of “exotic animals,” according to the CCTV report. One kilogram of the monkey’s meat sells for 560 yuan (US$90) and a monkey head can fetch 800 yuan, the eatery owner, surnamed Lou, told CCTV.
Zhenwei, another restaurant in a suburb of Zixi specializing in wildlife animals, offers rhesus monkeys along with wild geese, hog badgers and bamboo rats.
Zhenwei is one of the designated restaurants serving the Fuzhou City government in Jiangxi. Zixi is under the jurisdiction of Fuzhou.
The director of the Zixi County forestry bureau and three other officials have been fired in the aftermath of the report, whilst two poachers have also been arrested by local police.
[Editor’s note: Though the original CCTV program and numerous other Chinese reports describe the rhesus macaque/monkey as “endangered”, this is incorrect. The International Union for Conservation of Nature categorises macaca mulatta as of “Least concern” due to the animal’s “wide distribution, presumed large population, is tolerant of a broad range of habitats, and because it is unlikely to be declining at anything close to the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.”]