Governor Norraphat issued the order to Natawan Jumlongkat, Director of the Phuket Provincial Environment Office, at an early morning meeting today.
“Set up regulations on how tourists are to interact with monkeys, and ban feeding any wild monkeys,” Governor Norraphat said.
“It is necessary to ban tourists from giving any food to the monkeys, not even on the footpaths,” he added.
“I want tourists to interact with monkeys in the right way,” Gov Norraphat said.
“Signs warning tourists to beware monkeys must be set up. These sign must be in several languages, namely Thai, English, Chinese and Russian. This is necessary. Please hurry up to arrange it,” he added.
Governor Norraphat called on local officials to do their part in enforcing the new “monkey rules”.
“Local administrations must provide officials to make sure tourists and other people have to follow the same rules,” he said.
Although the Department of National Parks, Conservation and Wildlife (DNP) warns tourists may be fined up to B1,000 for feeding wild monkeys within national parks, it was not made clear whether local officials would fine tourists for any similar behaviour in Phuket.
Governor Norraphat gave the order after Mr Natawan reported the initial results of the public hearings held to gauge public opinion on what should be done with the growing number of wild monkeys on the island.
So far, public opinion on what action should be taken varies depending on the local residents in each area affected.
At the meeting at “Wat Khao Rang” (Rang Hill Temple) in Phuket Town on Monday (May 28), local residents made their opinion clear for wildlife officials to take steps to control the number of the wild monkeys living on Rang Hill, but asked to let the monkeys stay there. (See story here.)
At the meeting at the Chalerm Sammanakit Hall at Wat Charoen Samanakit (Wat Lang San), located behind Phuket Provincial Court, in Phuket Town last Friday (May 25), Phuket Town residents also called for wildlife officials to take steps to control the number of the wild monkeys living on Toh Sae Hill in the heart of Phuket Town, but asked to let the monkeys stay there. (See story here.)
However, at the first public-feedback meeting, held at the Chalerm Phrakiet Rama 9 Hall on Soi Tah Jeen, Rassada, Tuesday last week (May 22), local residents voted in support of “population control” measures of the monkeys, and voted in support of having the monkeys moved. (See story here.)