Phnom Penh: The COVID-19 vaccine and drug research and development have increased the demand for laboratory monkeys across the world, with Cambodia an exporting country. In the first eight months of this year, Cambodian monkey exports have soared,.
A report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries stated that Cambodia exported 13,763 experimental monkeys in the first eight months of this year. In August, the number hit a record high with 4,000 monkeys shipped overseas. The normal amount was around 1,400 each month.
Cambodian experimental monkeys are mainly exported to the United States, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Australia.
The Ministry of Agriculture report says the monkeys are mainly used for drug research and development.
There are currently 8 monkey farms in Cambodia, 7 of which are operated by foreign companies. The farms are located in Phnom Penh, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Battambang and Kampong Chhnang provinces.
As of the end of August this year, the number of monkeys in the 8 monkey farms was 91,148 (*which would be a rise from 67,352 reported in 2020). These farms are legally operated under the approval of the government, and the investment companies are from China, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
The COVID situation has restricted the supply monkeys for medical research. According to Chinese media reports, the value of experimental monkeys in China has soared from 15,000 RMB ($2300) per monkey in the second half of 2016 to 60,000 to 70,000 ($9,300-10,800).
In 2018, just 4,310 were reportedly exported.