Police form new 'special' monkey unit

Police form new 'special' monkey unit

Lop Buri plans to fix macaque menace

Lop Buri: A special police unit has been formed to capture aggressive macaque monkeys that cause trouble for residents in this Central Plains province.

A Tha Hin policeman in Lop Buri's Muang district on Wednesday keeps an eye on aggressive macaque monkeys that cause trouble for local residents and tourists. He has a slingshot to use against the animals. (Photo: Tha Hin police station)

Pol Maj Gen Apirak Vetkanchana, chief of the Lop Buri Provincial Police, instructed Pol Col Kantaphon Wanna, the superintendent of Tha Hin Police, to set up a monkey suppression unit, which began operations on Monday.

Pol Maj Gen Apirak approved the procurement of slingshots for police officers to use against aggressive monkeys.

Previously, police were shooting monkeys with sedatives, but it takes at least five minutes for the animals to become sedated. By that time, they could flee to other places, including reaching the top of buildings, which could pose a danger to people.

The first day of the operation received positive feedback from local residents.

The move comes after the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry on Saturday agreed to compensate people attacked by macaques amid a surge of incidents in Lop Buri, including at least three major cases this month.

More than 10 officials from Wildlife Conservation Office 1 in Saraburi have been deployed to deal with the monkeys around the Provincial Agriculture and Cooperatives Office on Ratchadamnoen Road in tambon Tha Hin, where monkeys snatch belongings from passersby. Officials have placed cages across the area and trapped nine monkeys on Monday and another seven on Tuesday.

Sutthipong Kaemtubtim, wildlife conservation director, said 18 monkeys which had been caught were taken to a wildlife clinic in Saraburi for a health check.

They will then be sent to a suitable place for around two months before being sent back to Lop Buri.

The Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is seeking a solution for the monkey problem, such as keeping them in a zoo.

DNP officials on Wednesday also placed cages on Ratchadamnoen Road and captured five more monkeys.

Monkeys have been troubling residents in Lop Buri for several years, with a recent study finding there was a population of 5,709 living wild in the province in 2023. The macaques are protected by the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.

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