11 July 2024

A team of veterinarians and officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation are discussing ways to deal with the rapid increase in the monkey population in the central province of Lopburi, which is adversely affecting many locals and visitors. They are considering sterilisation of the primates, to control the population, instead of relocating them.

The increased number of monkeys is scaring merchants and customers away from the Manora Sunday market, as they ruin stock and attack customers. Even worse, the market area is being fouled by monkeys defecating all over the pavements.

According to Thai PBS reporters, large troops of monkeys climb the buildings and utility poles, with some searching through trash cans and along the roads for food.

In 2020, Lopburi recorded a total of 9,300 monkeys in the province, 3,100 of which live in Muang district. 900 have already been sterilised. To control the population, however, at least 70% need to be sterilised.

Authorities have, to date, not succeeded in controlling the monkey population because the budget for monkey sterilisation is allocated for the entire country, not only for Lopburi.

An additional problem is that monkeys breed throughout the year, with no defined mating season.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Conservation Forest Management Administration Office 1 in Saraburi, explained that the relocation of monkeys would cause more problems. As such, the only effective option is mass sterilisation. The Chulabhorn Royal Academy’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Applied Zoology is discussing optimum ways to control the monkey population.

Lopburi is known as Thailand’s “monkey hub”, with a massive population of the mammals. In March 2020, videos of monkeys brawling over scarce food went viral. The shortage of food is due to the lack of tourists, who normally feed them. The topic was also featured in an episode of America’s “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah.