Connect with us

Opinion

Opinion: Effects of feeding monkeys

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Kritkantatong Kantap, 46, has been a member of the research team at the SEA Monkey Project of Chulalongkorn University since 2010 where he is part of a team that studies monkey species in Thailand. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ramkhamhaeng University.

Here he talks about how feeding monkeys can be detrimental to their natural behavior and what the effects will be if it is continued.

PHUKET: The main objectives of the SEA Monkey Project are to create a database for future studies of monkeys, conserve their environment and help prevent them from changing their natural behavior.

In 2006, Prof Michael Gumert of Nanyang Technological University of Singapore first found a long-tailed macaque that was able to use tools to break open the shell of its food in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. He then broadened his research to Ranong, Phuket and Phang Nga.

Soon we will continue our research in Trang and Surat Thani.

The brain of a monkey can develop more than just giving it the capability to use tools. Monkeys can do much more than we imagine. However, human behavior has now begun to interfere with their natural way of thinking and using their brain.

We have yet to conclude our research and decide to what extent a monkey can use tools to benefit its life and the lives of its species. However, the one thing that is strikingly clear is that Thailand’s ever-growing tourist population is preventing them from developing or using their naturally learned behaviors.

Feeding the monkeys will only make them lazy, waiting around to be fed as opposed to hunting for their meals.

I fear that if it continues, generation after generation of monkeys will completely lose their ability to find food for themselves.

Another problem that persists when a group of monkeys become dependent on food from humans is that if food is not readily available when they want it, they will go into peoples’ homes or steal from hikers and tourists, instead of figuring out where they can find the food naturally for themselves.

This can be very dangerous, as monkeys may become hostile and can carry many diseases that can be transferred to humans. Adversely, humans also have the ability to spread disease to the monkey community through physical contact or from items around their homes.

Most people think that monkeys are able to eat anything that humans can. However, this is not true.
For example, long-tailed macaques naturally eat things from their direct environment near the sea, such as crab and shrimp. This is why they have developed the ability to use tools, such as rocks, to break open shells.

On the other hand, pig-tailed macaques living in the mountains eat fruit found in the trees. So what you would feed one species, may not be good for another.

Another issue that comes from feeding monkeys is the amount of trash it produces. Often tourists will throw food in plastic bags for the monkeys to eat, with out cleaning up afterwards.

Additionally, monkeys may rummage through garbage bins for food, throwing plastic and other trash on the ground. Therefore, the best thing to do for everyone would be to stop feeding them.

I understand that this may not be the easiest solution, as many tourists come to Thailand to see and feed monkeys.

Tour operators should know how to educate tourists on what they can and cannot feed the monkeys, monitor their behavior and help clean up the environment around them.

It’s a very difficult situation, as so many people come here to see and interact with the monkeys, as opposed to witnessing them in their natural environment.

To gradually solve the problem, we will start by educating students.

— Kongleaphy Keam

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Expats2 hours ago

List: China has over 50% of all foreign-owned condos in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Government plans 10 million vaccines for July

World7 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Vaccine deaths investigation, PM heads to Phuket, BMA extends vendor licences | June 18

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand8 hours ago

1 million AstraZeneca doses arrive, Anutin says “more” on the way

Drugs8 hours ago

1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine and heroin seized near Malaysian border

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Pattaya bars plead for government help

Thailand9 hours ago

Colour-coded zoning revised, restrictions to ease nationwide

Transport9 hours ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of9 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Tourism10 hours ago

Krabi schedules 82 flights per week from late October

Best of10 hours ago

Top 6 Online Forums in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 3,058 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand10 hours ago

Worker falls off roof in Chon Buri, sustains multiple injuries

Phuket11 hours ago

Talad Kaset market in Phuket reopens

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

PM Prayut tests negative after parliament maid has Covid-19

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending