Monkey Invasion: 3,500 Macaque Monkeys Overrun City in Central Thailand, Harassing Tourists and Vandalizing Shops

Macaque monkeys are on the loose and invading the streets of a city in Central Thailand, where they have been reported to harass tourists and vandalize shops. Around 3,500 monkeys are involved in invading Lopburi, a bustling commercial city, according to reports in recent days However, the threat posed by the non-human primates could affect the local economy and security of the city.

Incidents related to the monkey invasion of Lopburi have been recorded before, including videos posted on social media in recent years. Some of the reasons why macaque monkeys have a recurring habit of running around the Lopburi are their attraction to human food and conflict with other monkey gangs. Their snacks are available to residents, tourists, and food establishments.

In the past, Thailand government officials have attempted to control the growing monkey population but only ended without success. One of the measures implemented to address the Lopburi monkey invasion is sterilization, a surgical procedure where a part of an animal’s reproductive organ is detached to prevent it from reproducing or finding a mate because of sexual urges.

Lopburi Monkey Invasion

Monkey Invasion: 3,500 Macaque Monkeys Overrun City in Central Thailand, Harassing Tourists and Vandalizing Shops
(Photo : Photo by Jonathan Forage on Unsplash)

The Lopburi monkey invasion was caught on video and posted on X (formerly Twitter) last week. The post has a caption that the city can become a “ghost town” since thousands of monkeys invaded one of its areas, affecting shops and tourists.

In the 45-second clip, macaque monkeys can be seen running across the street while vehicles are passing through.

Lopburi monkey gangs are involved in the chaotic scenery, as previous reports also mentioned the conflict consists of rival monkey gangs. Aside from the government-initiated measure of sterilization, residents also tried to control the situation by feeding the monkeys junk food and other sugary delights. 

However, the method only worsened since it led to increased aggression among the animals.

Local authorities explained that these types of foods can only boost the monkey’s energy and make them sexually active. According to the founder of the annual Monkey Feast Festival in Central Thailand, Yongyuth Kitwatanusont, there were only around 300 monkeys in Lopburi before but it increased to almost 4,000 nowadays, based on a November 2022 report.

Also Read: 250 Puppies Killed in ‘Revenge Massacre’ by Enraged Monkeys in India

COVID-19 Lockdowns

The onset of the excessive monkey presence in Lopburi started during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, a time when videos of the wild animals in large numbers surfaced across the internet and different social media platforms.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, reports show there was a balance between humans and monkeys in the city.

However, curfews and restrictions on public movement, for residents and travelers in Thailand deprived the monkeys of food, making the animals hungrier than ever before.

In 2020, local officials employed a strategy involving small fruits to lure the monkeys in cages, leading to their sterilization. Still, it is not clear if the monkey sterilization program in Lopburi will be a permanent solution.

Related Article: Macaques in Yamaguchi Form Aggressive Monkey Gang Responsible for Over 50 Attacks

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