Leading the inspection was Pongchart Chouehorm, Director of the Natural and Wildlife Education Centre at Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area in Thalang, who is the officer responsible for the protection and conservation of all natural wildlife on the island.
The team inspected the small islands island of Koh Malee, Koh Payu and Koh Ngam, all off Phuket’s east coast, in three separate sorties starting with Koh Malee on Sunday (July 30), then Koh Payu on Monday and concluding with Koh Ngam yesterday (Aug 1).
The inspections were held to carry out surveys of the natural food and water sources available.
“These islands were found to be suitable new homes for any relocated monkeys. We recorded our findings,” Mr Pongchart told The Phuket News.
“This project was launched to solve the macaque problem because the macaque populations around Toh Sae Hill and Rang Hill in Phuket Town and at the viewpoint on Koh Siray are growing quickly and they are running out of room to live without conflicting contact with people,” Mr Pongchart explained.
“The plan is far from finalised, so I can’t tell you any details for now. We are still carrying out our inspections,” he told The Phuket News this morning (Aug 2).
The plan to move monkeys to nearby islands was first set in motion in May when Mr Pngchart and a team of experts inspected the small islands of Koh Pae and Koh Thanan, both off Pa Khlok, and Koh Malee, offshore from Rassada, on Phuket’s east coast. (See story here.)
The latest outing to locate new homes for undesirable monkey troops gained momentum last week when a local resident suffered a severe bite in his leg after he was attacked by a troop of monkeys on Toh Sae Hill in Phuket Town.
Despite extensive warnings posted by Phuket City Municipality, the man, like so many other local residents and tourists, regularly fed the monkeys. He was carrying peanuts to feed to the troop when he was attacked. (See story here.)
Additional reporting by Tanyaluk Sakoot