Public to decide the fate of trouble-making monkeys in Thailand
Relocating the animals to unpopulated islands is among the options being considered
By Apinya Wipatayotin
Thailand’ Phuket province will hold a public meeting next month to come up with ways to deal with a growing monkey population that has become menace to residents and tourists.
The meeting will be open to residents, representatives from the tourist industry, provincial officials and animal lovers to exchange ideas and propose solutions, said a source from the provincial panel set up to deal with the problem.
The province has been facing a growing monkey population despite attempts — including sterilisation — by authorities to contain their numbers.
“If people think that sterilisation is enough, we will continue that course of action,” said the source. “But if they agree to relocate them to other islands, we will do it.”
Relocation to unpopulated islands is among the options the panel is weighing up. It has already looked at five locations — Koh Ngam, Koh Payu, Koh Tanan, Koh Pae and Koh Malee.
These islands have enough natural food and freshwater resources to sustain the animals and ensure their survival, the source said.
If the relocation proposal gets the nod at the public hearing next month, the monkeys will be neutered before being moved, the source added.
The growing monkey population has become a problem for Phuket since 2015, partly because of people feeding them.
The monkeys have reportedly become more aggressive by stealing food, snatching tourists’ belongings and in residential areas, breaking into houses and damaging property and belongings.
Areas in the province that are heavily populated by monkeys included Khao Rang, Bang Rong Pier, Soi Tachin, King Kaew Soi 9, Ban Yamu and Koh Sireh.
It is estimated that there are over 1,000 monkeys living in Phuket, most of them long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques.