Macaque catchers shift focus to Lop Buri landmarks
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Macaque catchers shift focus to Lop Buri landmarks

Operation pauses while new cages built

A woman feeds a captured long-tailed macaque in a cage built by Lop Buri municipality, in this photo officials posted on Monday. (Photo: Lop Buri Municipality)
A woman feeds a captured long-tailed macaque in a cage built by Lop Buri municipality, in this photo officials posted on Monday. (Photo: Lop Buri Municipality)

Macaque catchers will now target troublesome monkeys at the two most famous places in Lop Buri, after clearing them from other downtown city areas.

Lop Buri mayor Chamroen Salacheep said the main focus would shift to the macaques overrunning the 13th-century ruin Phra Prang Sam Yot and Phra Kan Shrine.

Catchers would resume their task as soon as new cages were built to house the captured animals. The  existing cages were full.

The province and municipality are constructing three big new cages for the pestilential primates, which raid local residents' homes and businesses and are known to attack unwary tourists who offer them food.

"We have not caught them in those areas yet because we don't have enough cages," the mayor said. "Please be patient. Our existing cages are fully occupied," he added.

The mayor expected the next phase of the operation to begin later this week. He hoped to make the city free of roaming monkeys before the end of the year.

Phra Prang Sam Yot and the Phra Kan Shrine are major historical sites in Lop Buri but many tourists are scared of visiting them, deterred by stories about vicious roaming monkeys. (continues below)

The wild macaques infesting Phra Prang Sam Yot are the next target for catchers trying to clear Lop Buri of the pesky primates. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Workers from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, city municipality and other agencies have caged 1,191 long-tailed macaques since the start of the operation in mid-May. The municipality is caring for 1,038 of them and the rest have been sent elsewhere, according to data released on Saturday.

They first targeted monkeys causing trouble for residents and their businesses in downtown areas before expanding the operation to other sites.

"Economic activities in Lop Buri will be revitalised after the operation," the mayor promised.

With more than 1,000 monkeys to take care of, the municipality is asking for donations of food for the animals, and also inviting people to feed them.

Wat Sao Thong Thong in Muang district has stepped in to help, organising a ceremony every Sunday for people to donate fruit and vegetables, and other leftovers, for the captured macaques.

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