Image: Captured monkeys in Puerto Rico
Brennan Linsley  /  AP file
Non-native patas monkeys, like these captured in 2008, have run wild in Puerto Rico for the last 30 years.
updated 2/25/2009 6:02:15 PM ET 2009-02-25T23:02:15

Puerto Rico has found an unlikely solution to lessen its surplus of wild monkeys: ship them to Iraq. About a dozen patas monkeys that had pillaged farms in the island's southwest will fly across the Atlantic in upcoming weeks, courtesy of the Baghdad Zoo.

The U.S. Caribbean territory is eager to rid itself of the estimated 2,000 patas and rhesus monkeys that have threatened wildlife and agriculture in the Lajas Valley for 30 years after escaping nearby research centers.

Natural Resources Secretary Daniel Galan said Wednesday that officials have been pleading with zoos across the world to accept the monkeys.

Officials continue to capture some monkeys and shoot others, a method they consider more humane than lethal injection.

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