Frustrated by their favorite food source — bananas, peanuts, and other treats brought by tourists now kept away from the coronavirus — hungry monkeys on the holiday island of Bali have begun looting villagers’ homes in search of something delicious.
Villagers in Sangeh say the long-tailed gray macacas ventured out of a shrine about 500 meters away to hang on their rooftops, waiting for the right moment to dive in and have something to eat.
Worried that the sporadic disturbance would become a monkey attack on the village, residents brought fruit, peanuts, and other food to the Sangeh monkey forest to calm the primates.
“We are afraid that hungry monkeys will become wild and cruel,” said villager Saskara Gustu Alit.
About 600 of the macaques live in the forest reserve, swing from tall nutmeg trees, and jump around the famous Pura Bukit Sari Temple and are considered sacred.
In normal times, the jungle sanctuary in the southeast of the Indonesian island is popular with both locals for wedding photos and international visitors. Relatively domesticated monkeys can easily be persuaded to sit on a shooting shoulder for a peanut or two.
Typically, tourism is the main source of income for Bali’s 4 million residents, who welcome more than 5 million foreign visitors annually before the pandemic.
Sangeh es monkey forest usually had about 6,000 visitors per month, but as the pandemic spread last year and international travel declined dramatically, that number dropped to about 500.
Since July, when Indonesia banned all foreign travelers on the island and the shrine was also closed to local residents, no one has been there.
Not only did that mean no one brought extra food for the monkeys, but the sanctuary also lost tickets and almost ended up with the money until they bought food for them, plant manager Mohon said.
The donations from the villagers have helped, but they are also feeling the economic Metz and are gradually giving less and less, he said.
“This ongoing pandemic exceeds our expectations,” Made Mohon said, “monkey food has become a problem.”
The cost of food is about 850,000 rupees ($60) per day, Made Mohon said, for 200 kilograms of cassava, the monkeys’ staple foods, and 10 kilograms of bananas.
The macaque is an all-saint and can eat various animals and plants found in the jungle but die? In the Sangeh Monkey Forest, they have had enough contact with people over the years when they seem to prefer other things.
And they are not afraid to take the handle into their own hands, said Gustu Alit.
Often monkeys roam the village and sit on rooftops, occasionally removing tiles and dropping them to the ground. When villagers make religious food sacrifices on their terraces every day, the monkeys jump down and run away with them.
“A few days ago, I attended a traditional ceremony at a temple near the Sangeh Forest,” Gustu Alit said. “When I got mine. He parked the car and grabbed two plastic bags of food and flowers as a victim, suddenly two monkeys appeared and grabbed everything and quickly ran through the forest.
Usually, monkeys interact with visitors throughout the day — they steal sunglasses and water bottles, pull clothes, jump on their shoulders — and Gustu Alit theorizes that they are bored more than just hungry.
“That’s why I invited the villagers here to come to the forest to … Play with monkeys and offer them food,” he said. I think he needs to interact with people as often as possible so they don’t get unleashed.”
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