A Thai city crazed by marauding monkeys launches a plan to lock them up and fire them

A Thai city crazed by marauding monkeys launches a plan to lock them up and fire them

LOPBURI, Thailand (AP) — A Thai city, plagued by its growing population of marauding wild monkeys, launched an offensive Friday against the raiding apes, using deception and ripe tropical fruits.

Several high-profile cases of conflict between monkeys and humans recently convinced authorities in Lopburi, central Thailand, that they had to reduce the animals’ numbers.

If all goes well, most will end up behind bars before starting a new life elsewhere.

The first stage of The planThe measure, instituted on Friday, consists of baiting the cages with the animals’ favorite food and then waiting for hunger to overcome their natural caution.

The hunters had early success on one street: three of the macaques fell into the trap and ended up trapped because they wanted to try the rambutan fruit. The cages had been placed on the street earlier in the week so that the monkeys would get used to them and find them less threatening.

There are believed to be around 2,500 monkeys running around the city. The capture of the unfortunate trio and about 30 others, trapped in other parts of the city, reduced that total slightly.

The effort will last for five days this month and will likely be repeated later. Some of the monkeys will be left free to maintain the image of Lopburi as The monkey city of Thailand.

But no one expects it to be easy.

“With the intelligence of the monkey, if some of them enter the cage and are caught, the others who are outside will not go in to look for food because they already know what happened to their friends,” said Patarapol Maneeorn of the Department of Thailand. of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Wandering monkeys have long been a symbol of the city, 140 kilometers (90 miles) north of Bangkok, and are a major tourist attraction. However, they have become increasingly aggressive and several videos of them snatching food from residents and causing injuries are widely shared online.

An auto parts store now trades behind a wire. The owners erected it during the coronavirus pandemic, but keeping the light-toed primates away was also a major concern. They say they have adapted to the monkey problem, but not all have.

“When there are a lot of monkeys around, customers are afraid to buy products in the store. Only our regular customers are not scared,” said Supaporn Tantiwong.

The city’s mayor, Chamroen Salacheep, agrees that the monkeys, while attracting visitors, have also become detrimental to commerce, with shops and malls suffering a drop in income and even people’s homes. people are harmed. Lopburi, he said, is almost an “abandoned city.”

“When our operation is over,” Chamroen said, “I will do a big cleanup throughout the city and paint all the buildings to regain the faith of the people.”

These may seem like bleak times for the monkeys in Lopburi, but there is a plan to give them a fresh start.

On Friday, authorities began sedating them for health checks before cleaning, sterilizing and tattooing them so they can be identified and accurate records kept.

After that, they will be moved to a series of huge pens, just outside the city center, while they search for a permanent home.