Bid to spay monkeys under way
Wildlife officials have kicked off an annual scheme to neuter 500 monkeys living in historic sites of Lop Buri province to control the increasingly aggressive animals.
Narongporn Doodduem, director of the Wildlife Conservation Department of Protected Areas Regional Office 1, said on Sunday the move had the backing of residents.
For several years, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has run the campaign as residents living in Muang district have become exasperated by the behaviour of the monkeys despite their popularity with tourists.
With a population of about 1,000, the animals frequently break into property and cause damage as well as interfering with infrastructure such as power lines, disrupting supply.
The majority of them live in historic sites in the middle of Muang municipality of Lop Buri province.
Officials on Sunday set a trap near Phra Prang Sam Yod, an ancient stupa in the middle of the city and scores of monkeys were caught and brought to a state veterinary hospital to be spayed.
Mr Narongporn admitted the project remains a big challenge as the monkeys are intelligent and can be quite fierce.
"The officers must be well trained as the monkeys can fight back," he said.
"These monkeys know about the traps and will not be caught easily. They are pretty smart," he said.
If the traps fail to snare enough of the monkeys, officials will also sometimes resort to using tranquillisers, he added.
However, the department official dismissed growing calls to transport the monkeys to forest areas away from the city as he said they were not equipped to survive in the wild.