Monkeys in Bali are deprived of their favorite food source— peanuts, bananas, and other goodies that came in with the tourist. With the absence of tourists and travels restrictions due to the pandemic, they are now resorting to raiding the homes of the villagers.
Monkeys is Bali turn house raiders
According to accounts of villagers in Sangeh, gray long-haired macaques are venturing out from the sanctuaries to hang out of their roofs. They wait for the perfect time and swoop down to snatch snacks. While occasional snatching is common, the villagers are worried that the monkeys will launch an all-out assault on the village. The village is merely 500 meters away from the sanctuary. So far the monkeys in Bali have been assaulting villagers to take peanuts, fruits, and other food items.
“We are afraid that the hungry monkeys will turn wild and vicious,” said Saskara Gutsu Alit. Alit is a resident of Sangeh village. “A few days ago I attended a traditional ceremony at a temple near the Sangeh forest. When I parked my car and took out two plastic bags containing food and flowers as offerings, two monkeys suddenly appeared and grabbed it all and ran into the forest very fast,” he added.
The forest hosts about 600 macaques and serves tall nutmeg trees. They leap and swing about the sacred Pura Bukit Sari temple. The forest is located in the southeast of the Indonesian island. It is a famous spot for wedding photoshoots— both for locals and international visitors. And, it is a common sight to see tamed monkeys sitting on people’s shoulders to coax a few snacks.
The aftermath of Indonesia’s travel ban
Bali and its four million residents mainly depend on over 5 million foreign tourists who visit the country as tourists. Before the pandemic, the Sangeh Monkey Forest alone had over 6,000 visitors every month. Additionally, Indonesia has banned all foreign travelers to the island and, shut down the sanctuary to locals as well. “Not only has that meant nobody bringing in extra food for the monkeys. The sanctuary has also lost out on its admission fees. And, running low on money to purchase food for them,” said Made Mohon, the operations manager of the sanctuary.
The villagers stepped up and gave donations but, they also face economic pain and can give less. “This prolonged pandemic is beyond our expectations. Food for monkeys has become a problem,” he added. He also asked the villagers to interact with the monkeys so that they do not go wild. After all, the monkeys usually spend all day with visitors. Jumping on their shoulders, pulling on their clothes, stealing little things, etc. After all, the monkeys in Bali are not just hungry, they are bored.
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