The meeting will be open to residents, representatives from the tourism industry, provincial officials and animal lovers to exchange ideas and propose solutions, said a source from a provincial panel set up to deal with the problem.
The province has been facing a growing monkey population despite attempts – including sterilisation – by authorities to contain their numbers.
“If people think that sterilisation is enough, we will continue that course of action,” said the panel source.
“But if they agree with our plan to relocate them to several islands, we will do it. All problem-solving decisions will be made by the people,” the source added.
Relocation to unpopulated islands is among the options the panel is weighing up.
It has already looked at five locations – Koh Ngam, Koh Payu, Koh Tanan, Koh Pae and Koh Malee.
All of these islands have enough natural food and freshwater resources to sustain them and ensure their survival, the source said.
If the relocation idea gets the nod at the public hearing next month, the monkeys will be neutered before being sent to whichever island, the source added.
A growing monkey population has become a problem for Phuket since 2015, partly because of people feeding them.
The monkeys have reportedly become more aggressive by stealing food, snatching tourists’ belongings, and in residential areas, breaking into houses and damaging property and belongings.
There are seven areas in the province heavily populated by monkeys.
They are Khao Rang, a famous sightseeing spot in Kho To Sae district, Bang Rong Pier in Thalang district, Soi Tachin and King Kaew Soi 9 in Maung Phuket district and Ban Yamu in Thalang district and Koh Siray in Maung district, known as a popular spot to observe monkeys.
It is estimated that there are over 1,000 monkeys living in the province, most of which are long-tailed macaque and pig-tailed macaque.
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