Dept vows to end macaque menace 'soon'
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Dept vows to end macaque menace 'soon'

Macaques in Lop Buri (file photo)
Macaques in Lop Buri (file photo)

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) will start relocating macaques which have laid siege to parts of downtown Lop Buri out of the city as soon as the designated holding facility is ready, DNP chief Athapol Charoenshunsa said on Monday.

According to the department, there are about 2,200 macaques roaming freely in and around downtown Lop Buri, threatening the safety of local businesses and pedestrians in the area.

The department has prepared a two-phase operation to address the situation, the first of which will target about 700 macaques in one particular city block where the problem is most serious, he said.

The first phase will begin as soon as the designated holding facility in tambon Po Kao Ton in Muang district is ready. The facility, which is currently undergoing renovations, will feature three large enclosures, he said.

In the second phase, which the DNP hopes to launch next year, authorities will remove about 1,400 macaques living elsewhere in the city centre, such as the 13th-century temple Phra Prang Sam Yot, the Phra Kan Shrine and a nearby motorcycle taxi queue, will be removed.

These macaques will also be placed in the Po Kao Ton centre.

If the centre runs out of room, the macaques will be housed at a facility in Wat Phra Bat Nampoo, also in Muang district, and other nearby facilities.

To trap the macaques, park officials will use food to lure the monkeys into large cages. The monkeys will allowed to go in and out of the cages for two days to make them less suspicious of the traps, so more of them can be captured, said Mr Athapol.

Since March 25, authorities have managed to catch 37 animals identified as pack leaders. Fifteen were taken to Lop Buri Zoo, while the rest went to a wildlife clinic at the Protected Area Regional Office 1 in nearby Saraburi.

The monkeys will be sterilised before they are sent to the Po Kao Ton facility, said Mr Athapol.

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