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Lop Buri’s Macaque Mayhem: Innovative Control Center Aims to Restore Harmony

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In the heart of Lop Buri, a city north of Bangkok known for its historical ruins and sunflower fields, a spectacular event unfolds each November. Under the gaze of avid photographers and amused tourists, hundreds of macaques gather at the Sam Roi Yot sanctuary for an annual feast that is nothing short of a royal banquet. The event captures the essence of this unique town, where monkeys roam with an air of entitlement, borrowed, perhaps, from their ancestral linkage to the Hindu deity Hanuman. But the reality behind the scenes is a complex narrative of coexistence and management challenges that the town faces with its primate population.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Phatcharavat Wongsuwan has unveiled plans that aim to turn the tide on the escalating monkey mayhem in Lop Buri. At the heart of these solutions is the proposed establishment of a macaque control centre. This facility is not just any ordinary center; it’s envisioned as a pioneering approach to ethically and effectively manage the burgeoning macaque populace. The initiative involves sterilizing the monkeys, not as a punitive measure, but as a gentle nudge to control their numbers, and then relocating them to places where they can roam more freely, without turning human habitats into their playgrounds.

The story of Lop Buri’s macaques isn’t new. At the end of last year, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Conservation (DNP) clocked their numbers at 5,709, a stark decrease from the more than 9,000 in 2018, primarily due to sterilization efforts. However, with 2,206 still frolicking in the municipality, the cheeky antics continue unabated, from snatching food to swinging from power lines with acrobatic finesse. The plan to relocate some of these macaques isn’t without its hurdles, requiring careful consultations with other provinces to ensure the move is welcome.

Amidst rumors of resistance from communities near the potential relocation sites, Atthapol Charoenchansa, the DNP’s director-general, clarifies that such concerns have been addressed. Dialogues with residents near Khao Yai National Park have been fruitful, paving the way for the relocation of macaques to a wildlife rescue center in Nakhon Nayok. This facility promises not just a haven but a sprawling enclosure emulating the wild, offering the macaques a semblance of freedom, albeit under watchful eyes.

The determination to alleviate the monkey quandary in Lop Buri has led to some amusing, albeit ingenious tactics by the DNP. Just last week, a team of officers embarked on a mission to capture the town’s most troublesome macaques. Ditching their official uniforms for casual attire, they played a game of stealth and strategy with the monkeys, a move straight out of a spy novel. Though they fell short of their target, capturing 23 monkeys out of an aimed 50, their efforts highlighted the lengths to which authorities are willing to go to restore balance and peace.

The monkey saga of Lop Buri has its share of light moments too. A convenience store owner, weary of a particular macaque with a cleft ear known for its pilfering prowess, has put a price on its capture. The reward? A cool 500 baht for the one who can outsmart this furry bandit, known for its affinity for underpants and necklaces. This episode, while humorous, underscores the daily trials and tribulations faced by the locals in this shared urban jungle.

Lop Buri’s relationship with its macaque population is a fascinating tale of cohabitation, conflict, and compassion. As initiatives like the macaque control center unfold, there’s hope that the town and its primate residents can find a balance that allows both to thrive. Until then, the annual banquet remains a symbol of this intricate dance between man and monkey, a spectacle that delights and challenges in equal measure.


  1. JaneDoe87 April 2, 2024

    I genuinely think controlling the macaque population through sterilization is inhumane. There must be a more natural way to manage their numbers without intervening in such a direct manner.

    • EcoWarrior April 2, 2024

      Actually, sterilization is one of the most humane methods we have for controlling animal populations. It’s better than culling or letting them overpopulate and starve.

      • JaneDoe87 April 2, 2024

        I see your point, but it still feels like we’re playing God with these animals. Maybe more emphasis should be placed on habitat protection and restoration, so their numbers can naturally regulate.

      • BioEthicsGuy April 2, 2024

        It’s a complex issue, but at the end, human-wildlife conflicts require solutions that might not always be ideal. Sterilization is a compromise that balances ethical concerns and practical needs.

    • LocalLover April 2, 2024

      You clearly don’t live here. These monkeys are a daily terror for those of us who do. The government is doing what it needs to to help us.

      • JaneDoe87 April 2, 2024

        I can understand that it must be difficult. My concern is more about the animals’ welfare and looking for solutions that ensure their well-being too.

  2. MonkeyMagic April 2, 2024

    This is a classic example of human encroachment leading to wildlife issues. Instead of focusing on controlling them, maybe we need to look at how we’re contributing to the problem.

    • JaneDoe87 April 2, 2024

      Exactly! It’s like we only look at these issues from a human-centric perspective without considering the broader ecological implications.

    • CitySlicker April 2, 2024

      But we can’t just let our cities be overrun by wildlife. There’s got to be a balance. People’s safety and well-being are important too.

      • EcoWarrior April 2, 2024

        Finding a balance is key, but ignoring the root cause of the problem won’t help us in the long term. It’s all about coexistence.

  3. HistoryBuff1945 April 2, 2024

    I find the cultural aspect fascinating. The monkeys are seen as descendants of Hanuman, which adds a whole layer of complexity to how they’re managed and perceived.

    • AnthroNerd April 2, 2024

      Absolutely! It’s a unique situation where cultural beliefs and wildlife management intersect. Makes you wonder how other cultures handle similar issues.

  4. UrbanExplorer April 2, 2024

    Has anyone thought about the tourism angle? The monkeys are a draw for visitors, but their antics could also turn people away. It’s a tricky situation for Lop Buri.

    • TravelAddict April 2, 2024

      It’s a double-edged sword. I visited Lop Buri because of the monkeys, but I can see how living with them daily could be challenging for locals.

      • UrbanExplorer April 2, 2024

        Exactly my point. It’s fascinating as a visitor, but the balance between attracting tourists and maintaining quality of life for residents is delicate.

  5. RealistRaj April 2, 2024

    Relocation sounds like a logistical nightmare. How do you even begin to move hundreds of monkeys without causing them stress or disrupting their social structures?

    • PrimatePal April 2, 2024

      It’s definitely challenging. Monkeys have complex social hierarchies. Disturbing these can have unforeseen consequences. The authorities must proceed with extreme caution.

      • VetTechTina April 2, 2024

        Not to mention the stress on the animals during capture and transport. Wildlife management is never simple, but it sounds like they’re making efforts to be as ethical as possible.

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