Stop giving monkeys cigarettes, beg locals in Lop Buri, Thailand

Locals in Lop Buri province in central Thailand – famous for its out-of-control monkey population – are begging tourists to stop giving monkeys cigarettes.

Monkey lovers in Lop Buri were saddened to see a clip circulating on social media in which a visitor to the city flicked a lit cigarette to a monkey.

In the clip, the innocent monkey picked up the cigarette by the lit end and burned itself, wincing in pain. The cigarette owner erupted with laughter at the monkey’s expense.

Pong, a merchant in front of Phra Prang Sam Yot temple, said he can’t understand how someone could do this to a little monkey. “Don’t they feel pain?” he asked about the cigarette pushers.

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Pong advised tourists not to bully Lop Buri’s monkeys. If you annoy the monkeys too much, they will respond according to their natural instincts, and the results won’t be pretty, warned Pong. Lop Buri’s monkeys are known for their violence, after all.

He advised tourists to come with love and kindness and only give monkeys things that are appropriate.

Oi, a local woman who “loves monkeys like her own family,” says she has lived among macaques her entire life…

“When I saw the clip, I had tears in my eyes. These people have no conscience or compassion for animals.”

Giving cigarettes to monkeys is dangerous for people, too, warned Oi.

“You could cause more damage than you expect. What if the monkey brought the cigarette onto the roof of one of the old wooden houses that surround the city? What will happen then?”

If you’re a cigarette smoker, make sure to dispose of your cigarettes properly when in Lop Buri and ensure they are fully stubbed out when you throw them away.

Lop Buri’s monkeys deserve a break. After depending on tourists for food their whole lives, many began to starve during the Covid-19 pandemic and turned to petty crime to survive.

Then, just when tourists started returning, news of the monkeypox epidemic came as another blow to Lop Buri’s monkeys. Despite monkeypox being spread through humans, and there are hardly any cases at all in Thailand, Lop Buri’s monkeys began to starve once more due to monkeypox fear.

Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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