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With No Tourist Handouts Because Of COVID, Bali’s Hungry Monkeys Raiding Homes

SANGEH, Indonesia (AP) — Deprived of their most popular meals supply — the bananas, peanuts and different goodies introduced in by vacationers now saved away by the coronavirus — hungry monkeys on the resort island of Bali have taken to raiding villagers’ properties of their seek for one thing tasty.

Villagers in Sangeh say the grey long-tailed macaques have been venturing out from a sanctuary about 500 meters (yards) away to hang around on their roofs and await the best time to swoop down and snatch a snack.

Worried that the sporadic sorties will escalate into an all-out monkey assault on the village, residents have been taking fruit, peanuts and different meals to the Sangeh Monkey Forest to attempt to placate the primates.

“We are afraid that the hungry monkeys will turn wild and vicious,” villager Saskara Gustu Alit mentioned.

About 600 of the macaques stay within the forest sanctuary, swinging from the tall nutmeg bushes and leaping concerning the well-known Pura Bukit Sari temple, and are thought-about sacred.

In regular occasions the protected jungle space within the southeast of the Indonesian island is fashionable amongst native residents for marriage ceremony images, in addition to amongst worldwide guests. The comparatively tame monkeys might be simply coaxed to sit down on a shoulder or lap for a peanut or two.

Ordinarily, tourism is the principle supply of earnings for Bali’s 4 million residents, who welcomed greater than 5 million overseas guests yearly earlier than the pandemic.

The Sangeh Monkey Forest usually had about 6,000 guests a month, however because the pandemic unfold final year and worldwide journey dropped off dramatically, that quantity dropped to about 500.

Since July, when Indonesia banned all overseas vacationers to the island and shut the sanctuary to native residents as nicely, there was no one.

Not solely has that meant no one bringing in further meals for the monkeys, the sanctuary has additionally lost out on its admission charges and is working low on money to buy meals for them, mentioned operations supervisor Made Mohon.

The donations from villagers have helped, however they’re additionally feeling the financial pinch and are progressively giving much less and fewer, he mentioned.

“This prolonged pandemic is beyond our expectations,” Made Mohon mentioned, “Food for monkeys has become a problem.”

Food prices run about 850,000 rupiah ($60) a day, Made Mohon mentioned, for 200 kilograms (440 kilos) of cassava, the monkeys’ staple meals, and 10 kilograms (22 kilos) of bananas.

The macaque is an omnivore and might eat quite a lot of animals and vegetation discovered within the jungle, however these within the Sangeh Monkey Forest have had sufficient contact with people over time that they appear to choose different issues.

And they’re not afraid to take issues into their very own arms, Gustu Alit mentioned.

Frequently, monkeys wander into the village and sit on roofs, often eradicating tiles and dropping them to the bottom. When villagers put out day by day non secular choices of meals on their terraces, the monkeys bounce down and make off with them.

“A few days ago I attended a traditional ceremony at a temple near the Sangeh forest,” Gustu Alit mentioned. “When I parked my car and took out two plastic bags containing food and flowers as offerings, two monkeys suddenly appeared and grabbed it all and ran into the forest very fast.”

Normally, the monkeys spend all day interacting with guests — stealing sun shades and water bottles, pulling at garments, leaping on shoulders — and Gustu Alit theorizes that extra than simply being hungry, they’re bored.

“That’s why I have urged villagers here to come to the forest to play with the monkeys and offer them food,” he mentioned. “I think they need to interact with humans as often as possible so that they do not go wild.”

Karmini reported from Jakarta. Associated Press author David Rising in Bangkok contributed to this report.

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