Plan to end monkey business in Lopburi faces roadblock

Picture courtesy of Sanook

The Thai authorities in Lopburi have captured more than 1,000 monkeys causing disruptions for locals and tourists, but issues of insufficient care facilities have arisen, prompting an urgent budget from the Ministry of Interior.

The capture initiative started in mid-May and involved setting up cages to trap the monkeys, which are then given health checks, sterilised, and relocated to a sanctuary.

Social media has been buzzing with posts from people visiting Lopburi, noting that the town appears to be less populated with monkeys. Even prominent landmarks such as Phra Prang Sam Yot, usually teeming with monkeys, are reportedly seeing fewer of these animals.

This has made daily life more convenient for residents, with some areas now hosting just one or two monkeys.

Locals commented on how the monkeys were adapting and learning ways to manoeuvre around their usual sports to avoid capture. Instead, moving to places like Tha Pho Market.

The monkeys have taken refuge in different areas throughout the city, only appearing in the evening when people come to feed them. Some of them have learned to avoid people wearing camouflage hats, associating them with capture attempts.

Capacity exceeded

Recent reports confirm that authorities have captured over 1,000 monkeys so far. This number exceeds the capacity of the Lopburi Municipality Animal Shelter, also known as the Monkey Garden.

Mayor of Lopburi City, Chamroen Salachip suggested that the capture operations might need to be paused until further discussions with the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation materialises to address the overcrowding in the three existing cages.

Initially, the Ministry of Interior approved an urgent budget of approximately 650,000 baht. This will be used to construct a temporary cage measuring 8 by 16 metres and to purchase additional medication and medical supplies.

The temporary cage will accommodate 200 to 300 monkeys from the Phibun Wittayalai School area, where there have been numerous complaints from parents, students, and locals about the disruptions caused by the monkeys.

Mayor Chamroen also warned that if the capture operations face delays or are not continuous, the monkeys currently at Phra Prang Sam Yot and San Phra Kan will expand their territory into the vacated building areas. This would render previous efforts futile.

Therefore, some monkeys around the aforementioned areas will also need to be captured, requiring enough temporary cages to manage the situation effectively.

Veterinarian and head of the Wildlife Health Management Division at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Patarapol Manee-on regularly updates the capture numbers on his Facebook page. As of June 12, the total number of monkeys captured stands at 1,159.

The efforts continue as officials work to manage the monkey population in Lopburi, rebalancing the coexistence between humans and wildlife in the area, reported Sanook.

Central Thailand NewsThailand News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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