Thailand ramps up monkey population control efforts

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Thailand is ramping up simian sterilisation projects to get the country’s urban monkey population under control, especially in Lopburi city in central Thailand, which is famous for its huge macaque population. So far this year, a total of 624 monkeys have been neutered and released back onto the streets.

Lopburi’s macaques once depended on tourists to feed them but were left starving once the Covid-19 pandemic hit and international travel came to a sudden halt. Just when tourists started to return, and things were starting to look up, the news of monkeypox left Lopburian monkeys starving once again.

Despite Thailand recording no cases of monkeypox at all, and the disease mostly being spread from human to human, Lopburi’s monkeys began to starve due to fear of monkeypox.

The hungry monkeys became aggressive, started to fight each other and fight humans for food so they could survive. Monkeys began invading buildings and forcing locals to flee their homes. As the monkey population grew, the situation worsened, and monkeys were causing trouble everywhere in Lopburi city.

To combat the problem, Thailand’s Department of National Parks began a mass sterilisation project to get the macaque population under control.

Yesterday alone, veterinarians successfully neutered 49 macaques. The monkeys were lured into cages with fruit and captured from Khao Somphot mountain in Lopburi.

The monkeys were transferred to an operating table where they were put to sleep, shaved, and given a small “tattoo” to track which ones have or haven’t yet been neutered.

The macaques lay on their backs under green blankets as vets performed vasectomies or tubal ligation operations on them.

The sleepy, spayed monkeys were given one night to recover before being released back to where they were found.

So far this year, a total of 624 monkeys have been sterilised under the project, which will continue until Thailand’s monkey population is under control.


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.