Many investigators of human-monkey competition (HMC) in Sri Lanka have revealed some common threads. Except at temple and protected sites, all monkeys were considered as household or agricultural pests wherever they shared space with humans. This included the widely distributed toque macaque (Macaca sinica), the grey langur (Semnopithecus priam thersites) of the Dry Zone, and the purple-faced langur (S. vetulus) of the southwestern and central rain forests where human densities and habitat fragmentation were greatest. People sharing space with monkeys resorted to various non-lethal methods to chase monkeys away from their properties and most preferred to have monkeys removed to protected areas; such translocations have been politically popular, though contrary to ecological principles. The main cause of HMC near primate habitats has been environmental conversion to agriculture, whereas in many towns the refuse generated in the wake of widespread growing tourism lured omnivorous macaques towards human habitation and stimulated macaque population growth. While most Sri Lankans share space with monkeys reluctantly, only a minority, flouting cultural restraints, want monkeys destroyed. Nonetheless, a major threat to primate conservation has been habitat loss and the killing of monkeys, especially in the densely populated southwestern area of the island where recent surveys showed that most macaques have been wiped out. Two subspecies, S. v. nestor of the rain forest lowlands and M. s. opisthomelas of the montane forests, are Critically Endangered. Sharing space with monkeys rests on public tolerance, understanding, and empathy with monkeys. Religious concepts venerating monkeys provide fertile ground for this. Our science-based educational documentaries (n > 35), among other efforts, also have contributed to these human sentiments in Sri Lanka and globally. The trends in HMC suggest that protected nature reserves for all wildlife are more secure for primate survival than ethnoprimatology by itself would be. Rudran [Folia Primatologica 2021, DOI: 10.1159/000517176] criticized our recent publication on HMC in Sri Lanka [Dittus et al., Folia Primatologica 2019, 90: 89–108]. We consider his comments as misconstruing efforts in primate conservation through denying the importance of traditional protected areas, overlooking our achievements in educating the public and reducing HMC, as well as misunderstanding the limits of marketing monkeys to tourists as a source of income to support conservation.

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