23 June 2024

Wildlife officials and police in Thailand arrested two men yesterday (Thursday) while they were hunting for macaque monkeys on Khao Nor Mountain in Banphot Phisai district of Nakhon Sawan province.

They found darts, a net and food laced with tranquiliser in their possession. Nine monkeys were found, four of them were unconscious and the rest were in a state of drowsiness.  Veterinarians administered saline to all nine of them, but one of them died.

The two suspects, Thaweelak and Promphiram, reportedly told the officials that they were merely monkey catchers, hired to catch the monkeys to order by someone whom they don’t know and had never seen before.

When they caught the monkeys, a pickup truck would be sent to collect the animals at their lodgings in Phitsanuloke and they would get paid.

Director of the Wildlife Conservation Area 12, Viraya Ochakul, told Thai PBS today that commercial monkey hunting had been reported in several monkey-infested areas.

She suspects that a major wildlife trafficking gang might be behind the mysterious disappearance of numerous macaque monkeys from their habitats.

Since many monkeys are also found in communities, she urged people to watch out for monkey catchers and to alert the authorities.

Earlier, in Wang Saphung district of Loei Province, hundreds of macaques were reported to have gone missing from a forest temple, which was usually home to about 3,000 monkeys.