A troop of unwanted monkeys languishing in Government kennels may be humanely destroyed if a new home cannot be found. The 27 rhesus macaques, Hong Kong's only native species of monkey which inhabit the hills around Kowloon reservoirs, were taken in after appearing in urban areas. Some of the monkeys have been in the custody of Agriculture and Fisheries Department kennels at Sheung Shui and Sha Tin for up to a year. Conservation officer Dr So Ping-man said they could not be released into the wild. 'If we return them it is very likely they will create a nuisance. Although the chance is slim, they are potentially dangerous. They are still wild animals and they might attack.' Options under consideration include sending the monkeys to a breeding centre or zoo in China, keeping them permanently in Hong Kong or putting them down. Efforts to find a suitable centre in China have proved fruitless. Putting down the animals was a last option but keeping them in government custody permanently was not practical, he said, adding there was also a space problem. Public outcry against humanely destroying the monkeys had deterred the department from doing so, he admitted. Because the species is common in much of Asia, the monkeys are not wanted by zoos, including the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. Jill Robinson of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said the organisation would help look for a home. Amy Chow Tak-sum of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said putting them down would be preferable to life in small cages.