The news came at a meeting at Provincial Hall yesterday (Aug 2), where Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong was brought up to speed to the latest updates in the ongoing saga of dealing with the growing number of wild monkeys in Phuket.
Gov Norraphat was told that the Natural and Wildlife Education Centre at Khao Phra Thaew and Phuket City Municipality have built bamboo rails as monkey equipment at Toh Sae Hill in Phuket Town.
A 200-metre long area where people can stop and legally feed monkeys also has been set up at on the road up the hill, between the 1.6 kilometre and 1.8km road markers.
Staff from the Natural and Wildlife Education Centre at Khao Phra Thaew will have the approved warning signs in four languages – English, Thai, Chinese and Russian – will be installed at Rang Hill and Toh Sae Hill, both in Phuket Town, by Aug 20.
Also, CCTV will be installed to “monitor tourists” in case they didn’t follow rules, Governor Norraphat was told.
The “rules” to be posted show a departure from original orders to not feed wild monkeys at all to now “Please only feed monkeys at designated areas”.
However, the “word of caution”, as the signs are now designated, maintain that people “Beware of monkey's attack”.
The signs also caution “Do not take your food back from monkeys”, “Do not touch monkeys directly” and “Do not poke and assault monkeys at all times”.
Further, the signs warn “A tour guide must follow all the rules” and display graphic images of people who have contracted serious, sometimes deadly, diseases from wild monkeys.
However, no update was given yesterday on the condition of the monkeys shipped off to two islands off Phuket’s east coast or released elsewhere following a campaign in June which saw mass sterilisations in accordance with feedback from the local residents themselves.
Hundreds of monkeys were removed from areas where residents complained that they had become a nuisance and were presenting a health threat, with entire troupes moved to Koh Thanan (see story here) and Koh Payu (see story here) , both small islands off Pa Khlok.
However, many of the monkeys were released back into areas where they were already living as residents had approved for the wild troupes to stay (see story here).