The current round of the monkey neutering campaign is set to run from Apr 21 through May 16, with officials aiming to catch and neuter 500 wild monkeys, according to the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation (PPAO, or Phuket OrBorJor), which announced the news yesterday (May 5).
The campaign’s duration and target number of monkeys to be neutered had not been disclosed before this announcement. The information was finally revealed in a publication covering the visit of PPAO Vice President Anupap Vejvanichsanong to the Nature and Wildlife Education Centre at Khao Phra Thaew where the monkeys are neutered before being released back into the wild.
Accompanying Mr Anupap were Suthat Niyomthai, Chief of the Phuket Livestock Office, and Pongchart Chouehom, Chief of the Nature and Wildlife Education Centre at Khao Phra Thaew. Mr Pongchart marked the visit on his personal Facebook page, which remains the main source of information about the monkey sterilisation effort in Phuket.
Earlier this week, Mr Pongchart made a series of announcements through his page regarding the campaign. In a publication on May 4, the wildlife official revealed that the campaign is not limited to Soi Kingkaew 9, the initial location where the cages were installed to catch macaques on April 20.
Since then, monkey catching has been organised at Khao Toh Sae (Phuket Town’s renowned Monkey Hill), the Monkey Viewpoint at the entrance to Koh Siray (another popular tourist attraction), and Soi Thachin. All these locations are known for large groups of monkeys, which frequently disturb local residents.
In another publication on May 3rd, Mr Pongchart announced that wildlife officials are also conducting proactive work to educate local people and tourists about their efforts to control monkey populations. As part of this, officials installed banners on Khao Toh Sae, asking people not to feed monkeys there as this disrupts the catch-and-neuter campaign.
In two separate publications on May 1 and May 4, Mr Pongchart spoke about two monkeys that were delivered to his centre without any connection to the campaign. The first one was found injured in Rawai, and the second one was disturbing people in Koh Kaew, so they asked wildlife specialists to come and catch the animal. Both monkeys are believed to have been neutered and released into the wild, just like the 500 others which the officials aim to catch as part of the campaign.
Finally, Mr. Pongchart posted pictures from several visits to Koh Payu, an uninhabited island off Phuket’s eastern coast that was chosen as the new home for monkeys relocated from Phuket in the first stage of the cage-and-neuter program in 2018.
“The monkeys are healthy, their fur is shiny, and they do not exhibit any aggressive behavior,” Mr Pongchart said in a post, published on Apr 23, when the new round of the campaign had just started.
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