The illustrious Khao Wang, a beloved mountain in Phetchaburi province, frequently attracts large crowds of both tourists and locals alike. Adding a unique touch to this attraction, it’s also home to a curious community of macaques. Recently, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has been looking into new ways to manage these lively creatures, known for their occasional bouts of mischief.
Among the DNP officials that made an informative visit to Khao Wang was the director-general himself, Atthaphon Charoenchansa. Their primary agenda was to closely examine a novel prototype enclosure at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) located in Tha Yang district of Phetchaburi. This particularly impressive human-engineered habitat spans 200-square-metres and is rigged with innovative features, such as low-voltage cables and wide aluminium plates stretching 1.5 metres, expertly designed to discourage the macaques from escaping.
The application of this technique, explains Yuthapol Angkinan, one of the advisers to the department, has had a proven track record in managing monkey populations for over a decade. Yuthapol is optimistic that this habitat will yield a hospitable space for the locale’s resident macaques while simultaneously alleviating their propensity to annoy tourists and residents.
The inspiration for this project came in response to an appeal from Phetchaburi’s governor, Nattachai Nampoonsuksan. He recommended the removal of Kao Wang’s macaques from the protected wildlife list owing to their unruly antics and burgeoning numbers that are exceeding their ordinary territory, thus posing a threat to their safety.
Looking ahead, Yuthapol shared that the prototype enclosure is set to be enhanced and expanded into a brand-new facility, to be located at the sprawling 300-rai Huai Sai Wildlife Breeding Station in Cha-am district of Phetchaburi. Despite an earlier plan to establish the project on Koh Leum in Prachuap Khiri Khan, the request was declined by the Royal Thai Army, the rightful owners of the island, who reserve the island for security operations.
Anticipating the arrival of their first occupants, Yuthapol revealed plans to initially house at least 300 monkeys in the cage at the breeding station. The future holds a promising collaboration between the state agencies and the WFFT chairman, Edwin Wiek, which juggles the exciting prospects of constructing the enclosure and addressing the plights engendered by the swiftly growing macaque population within the nation.
Undeterred, Yuthapol announced another ambitious monkey management project in the pipeline for Phetchaburi. Enabled by funding from provincial authorities, the department is committed to introducing new approaches to preserve the delicate balance between humans and monkey populations.
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