A city in Thailand is facing a major monkey issue amid the COVID-19 pandemic as a large number of macaques have taken over the streets and an abandoned cinema.
Thousands of monkeys have been roaming the streets around the Khmer temple in Lopburi’s city center, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Shop owners like Taweesak Srisaguan came up with a creative way to drive the monkeys away by using stuffed crocodiles and tigers. However, the method doesn’t always work as he still has to use a stick to scare them off.
Kuljira Taechawattanawanna, another shop owner, spent a lot of money to build a fence around her property to keep the animals away.
“I have to live in a cage,” the owner said. “It would be difficult to live without it because the monkeys would get in all the time.”
The monkeys have also taken refuge in an abandoned cinema in Lopburi. The grounds are where wars between different monkey tribes occur, while the projector room, which is inaccessible to humans, is also used as a place to put their dead peers.
The monkeys in Lopburi are part of the city’s tourist attraction. Visitors often feed the animals with bananas, but with the ongoing pandemic and several travel restrictions, the monkeys were left to scavenge for food that usually results in theft and vandalism, according to France24.
There are around 6,000 monkeys reportedly living around the temple. Their numbers have doubled since the last sterilization campaign by authorities three years ago.
A new campaign has started and authorities aim to sterilize 500 monkeys by the end of the month.
The monkeys are lured into a cage using vegetables and fruits and are later brought to a clinic for the operation.
“We have to make sure we organize who will catch the monkeys and keep an eye on them,” regional director of national parks, Narongporn Daudduem, told AFP. “If you let your guard down, they will jump on you. We need someone who will watch our backs.”
Feature Image Screenshot via AFP News Agency