Connect with us

Opinion

Opinion: Monkey business

Published

 on 

PHUKET: The recent arrest of a number of touts for the illegal possession of gibbons on Phi Phi Don Island reveals, yet again, the continuation of the pathetic practice of using exotic animals as props to make money from uneducated tourists in Thailand.

On a somewhat brighter note, the fact that the arrest followed images being sent to the Gazette by concerned readers indicates that the public, together with social and traditional media, have a key role to play in eventually relegating these practices to where they belong: the annals of history.

Phuket has come a long way in limiting the number of animal photo touts that line the streets in popular tourist areas such as Soi Bangla in Patong, where a police officer once famously quipped, “I am a person policeman, not a monkey policeman,” when asked why he did not take action against illegal photo touts.

As mentioned in this space just over a year ago, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) coming to power represents Thailand’s best – but perhaps last – chance to rid the island of these malefactors once and for all.

Unfortunately, the dynamics of greed and ignorance that drive the illicit trade are still largely in place, despite increased public awareness about the utterly cruel and inhumane way that baby gibbons and other primates are captured in the wild – by shooting and killing their mothers.

First-time tourists to Thailand who are ignorant of these facts can perhaps be forgiven for paying to pose with these animals. They arrive here with expectations of exotic experiences, and what could fit the bill better than having a python draped around one’s neck or cuddling a drugged-up baby primate?

For a fleeting moment, it might make them feel like they have been transported into an alternate reality, like a scene out of a Game of Thrones episode. Little do they know that their ‘Instagram moment’ comes at the cost of a lifetime of suffering for gibbons and other primates, who are caged up or even killed once they reached maturity and are no longer cute or cuddly enough for use in this sickening trade.

One of the many other sad realities that result from the photo tout trade is that after having posed with one of these animals, some tourists develop a sense of false security in dealing with primates in more natural settings. Just one example here in Phuket are the pig-tailed macaque colonies on Khao Toh Seh, also known as Monkey Hill, where numerous tourists have been bitten while feeding the large and growing population of monkeys there.

It is necessary to see an end to photo touting with all animals, regardless of conservation status. It is a low-class activity that cements perceptions abroad of Thailand as an ‘anything-goes’, third-world country – at a time when we need to work harder than ever to sell the country as the world-class destination it can and should be.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

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.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

World6 mins ago

Iranian forces kill young man for celebrating World Cup loss

Crime18 mins ago

Thai police seize 8 businesses in Phuket owned by Chinese gangster Tuhao

Thailand25 mins ago

Planning a small conference? Try Thailand’s super-luxury villas

Sponsored4 hours ago

Go global with Upbit Thailand: Worldwide digital asset market in your hands

Bangkok33 mins ago

50 crypto mines raided for stealing Thai electricity

Bangkok2 hours ago

Bangkok ranked No.6 in the top 10 best cities for expats

Thailand2 hours ago

Man armed with a pen gun arrested at seminar visited by PM Prayut

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism3 hours ago

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport expects 130,000 daily passengers this month

Hot News3 hours ago

Racism scandal looms as Prince William and wife Kate arrive in US

Environment3 hours ago

Indonesia’s environmental protection plan- trust the billionaires

Hot News3 hours ago

Part one: the most haunted places in Bangkok

Hot News3 hours ago

Europe wakes up to US profiteering from Russia-Ukraine conflict

Crime4 hours ago

‘Pinky’ the alleged Forex 3D scammer released on bail after 3 months behind bars

Hot News4 hours ago

North Korea forces citizens to change names for a more idealistic sound

Tourism4 hours ago

Thailand’s southern islands are reeling in tourists

Thailand4 hours ago

Driver furious with BKK shopping mall after foreigner accidentally causes damage to her car | GMT

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Phuket2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Trending