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Wildlife Officials to End Wild Monkeys Overtaking Lopburi, Thailand

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Wildlife officials in Thailand have unveiled a plan on Wednesday to bring peace to the central city of Lopburi after more than a decade of monkey mayhem. The macaque monkey population has grown out of control with macaques attacking locals and tourists.

The macaques that wander Lopburi represent local culture and are a popular tourist attraction. However, after years of deadly encounters with residents and visitors, as well as multiple failed attempts to establish calm through population control measures, locals and businesses have had enough.

Monkeys frequently try to take food from humans, resulting in tussles that can cause scratches and other injuries. However, criticism intensified in March when a woman dislocated her knee after a monkey dragged her off her feet in an attempt to obtain food, and another man was thrown from his motorcycle by a hungry monkey.

Monkeys attack lopburi

Children Attacked by Monkeys in Lopburi

According to Athapol Charoenshunsa, director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation, authorities intend to round up some 2,500 urban monkeys and confine them in large enclosures. They will collaborate with wildlife experts to develop a way for a restricted number of monkeys to live freely in the city, he added.

“I don’t want humans to have to hurt monkeys, and I don’t want monkeys to have to hurt humans,” he told reporters at a Bangkok news conference.

An official monkey-catching drive began this week, focusing on more aggressive alpha males. It has captured 37 monkeys so far, the majority of which have been placed in the care of wildlife authorities in the nearby province of Saraburi, while others have been taken to the Lopburi zoo.

Officials said they intend to capture the remaining monkeys once the enclosures are complete, particularly those in residential areas. Separate cages will be set up for various monkey battalions to keep them from fighting.

Athapol anticipates the first phase of the operation to begin within weeks, and he believes the massive cages will be able to store thousands of them and “will solve the problem very quickly.”

monkeys lopburi

Monkeys are a symbol of Lopburi

The monkeys are a symbol of the province, located approximately 140 kilometers (90 miles) north of Bangkok, where the old Three Pagodas temple hosts an annual “Monkey Buffet” celebration, and they can be seen throughout the city. Thailand’s wildlife protection law lists macaques as a protected species.

Some have blamed the city’s monkey problems on tourists and inhabitants feeding the creatures, claiming that this lured monkeys into the city, increased their population, and conditioned them to accept food from humans.

However, some residents believe that an earlier effort to curtail feeding exacerbated the situation. In recent years, local officials have threatened fines for feeding monkeys outside of a few permitted places near the main tourist attractions.

However, a few armies of the fiercely territorial beasts dominated those feeding locations, while rival bands went hungry and turned to harassing people in other areas for food even more.

Athapol stated that people should not view monkeys as villains, and that the authorities may not have been efficient enough in their efforts to control the simian population.

People must also learn to live with the city’s monkeys, according to Phadej Laithong, director of the Wildlife Conservation Office, who explains that a shortage of natural food sources forces the animals to seek sustenance elsewhere, even from humans.

Previous control measures have fallen short. From 2014 until 2023, the wildlife officials neutered around 2,600 Lopburi monkeys.

Athapol stated that they are also working in other locations of Thailand where monkeys are an issue, like Prajuab Kiri Khan and Phetchaburi. He claimed that monkeys cause frequent difficulties in 52 of the country’s 77 provinces.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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