11 July 2024

As a new round of macaque captures is underway, Lop Buri province is looking to setup a new tourist attraction, to be called “Muang Pipob Vanorn” (or macaque city), to help re-organise and clean up the central district.

The mayor, Chamroen Slacheep, said that Lop Buri has faced a significant increase in the macaque population over the last 7-8 years.

This over-population is forcing the macaques out of their natural habitats, to forage for food near human dwellings. Now they occupy buildings all over town, he added. 

Photo: Facebook - Chamroen Slacheep, Lop Buri Mayor

The new monkey habitat project is the result of co-operation between the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and Lop Buri province.

The aims are to capture and relocate the monkeys to a better habitat, clean up Lop Buri town centre to revive tourism and the local economy and to allow the monkeys and people to live in harmony.

Chamroen also said that macaques are a symbol of Lop Buri, therefore they should be protected, in the same way as other local attractions.

26.5 million baht budget

With a budget of 26.5 million baht (about USD722,000), the plan is to add about 6,400 square metres to the existing 28,000-square-metre enclosure in the Pho Kao Ton monkey park, which will be able to accommodate up to 4,000 monkeys.

When the budget is approved, the project is expected to take about a year to complete. Meanwhile, the authorities are focusing on capturing about 1,000 macaque alphas and trouble makers. 

Lop Buri municipality has prepared enough food to feed them for up to three months. In addition, visitors are welcome to bring fruit and other food to feed the monkeys at the park.

In general, the cost of feeding one monkey is between 15 and 20 baht per day and there are about 2,000 of them. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation will supply medical necessities.

Revitalising “Muang Pipob Vanorn” and the local economy

According to Lop Buri’s mayor, the Pho Kao Ton monkey enclosure will eventually become an educational centre, where people can learn about macaques.

“After the monkeys are captured and relocated, there will be a big clean up in Lop Buri, to help bring tourism back,” he added.

Padej Laithong, director of the Wildlife Conservation Office, said that there is a framework in place with regards to the future of Lop Buri macaques. Local residents are also being consulted on the project to relocate the monkeys to Kao Som Phot sanctuary.