The announcement follows the NLA members, including NLA Committee for Monitoring and Evaluating Animal Protection Mechanisms Chairman Wanlop Tangkananurak, and wildlife officials inspecting Rang Hill and other monkey habitats in Phuket such as Koh Sirey on Sunday (Sept 17) to survey potential new homes for the monkeys.
The NLA members carried out the survey between 10am and 6pm on Sunday, explained Pongchart Chouehorm, Director of the Natural and Wildlife Education Centre at Khao Phra Theaw nature reserve in Thalang.
“We studied ways to manage the monkey problem in Phuket at Khao Rang (Rang Hill in Phuket Town) and Koh Siray,” Mr Pongchart said.
“We have now surveyed and collected information on five islands around Phuket,” Governor Norraphat told the meeting yesterday, attended by Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand founder Edwin Wiek.
“Some of the monkeys will be released to the secure ecosystems of these selected islands, to reduce the number of monkeys in areas highly populated with locals and tourists here in Phuket.” he added.
Gov Norraphat did not specify which troops of monkeys will be relocated.
Gov Norraphat said there are seven main locations where troops of monkeys live in Phuket: Rang Hill and Toh Sae Hill in Phuket Town, Soi Tha Noon (locale not specified), Soi Kingkaew 9 on Koh Sirey east of Phuket Town, Bang Rong Pier in Pa Khlok and Baan Yamu on Cape Panwa.
“There are two types of monkeys, the pig-tailed macaque and long-tailed macaque. There have been complaints that they sometimes attack people for food, steal people’s belongings and expect for tourists to feed them,” he said.
“Also, sometimes they attack people walking past them,” he added.
“However, we found through a survey that the monkeys in Phuket are not as aggressive as in other provinces that face similar monkey problems, as their behaviour has adapted to many visitors feeding them,” he said.
As reported earlier by The Phuket News, the search for potential new homes for Phuket’s monkeys began in May this year with wildlife officials inspecting nearby islands Koh Pae and Koh Thanan, both off Pa Khlok, and Koh Malee, offshore from Rassada, on Phuket’s east coast. (See story here.)
The search continued in August with surveys of the small islands island of Koh Malee, Koh Payu and Koh Ngam, all off Phuket’s east coast. (See story here.)
However, the move to ramp up efforts to find new homes for Phuket’s wild monkeys follows a local resident suffering injuries to his leg after a troop of monkeys attacked him on Toh Sae Hill in Phuket Town in July. (See story here.)