By FIRDIA LISNAWATI and NINIEK KARMINI, Associated Press
SANGEH, Indonesia (AP) — Deprived of their most well-liked 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 fitting 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 flip wild and cruel,” villager Saskara Gustu Alit mentioned.
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About 600 of the macaques reside within the forest sanctuary, swinging from the tall nutmeg bushes and leaping in regards to the well-known Pura Bukit Sari temple, and are thought of sacred.
In regular occasions the protected jungle space within the southeast of the Indonesian island is in style amongst native residents for marriage ceremony pictures, 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 primary 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 12 months 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 effectively, there was no one.
Not solely has that meant no one bringing in additional meals for the monkeys, the sanctuary has additionally misplaced out on its admission charges and is operating low on cash 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 regularly giving much less and fewer, he mentioned.
“This extended pandemic is past our expectations,” Mohon mentioned, “Food for monkeys has turn out to be an issue.”
Food prices run about 850,000 rupiah ($60) a day, 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 may eat a wide range of animals and vegetation discovered within the jungle, however these within the Sangeh Monkey Forest have had sufficient contact with people through the years that they appear to desire different issues.
And they’re not afraid to take issues into their very own palms, 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 each day spiritual choices of meals on their terraces, the monkeys soar down and make off with them.
“A number of days in the past I attended a standard ceremony at a temple close to the Sangeh forest,” Alit mentioned. “When I parked my automobile and took out two plastic luggage containing meals and flowers as choices, two monkeys out of the blue appeared and grabbed all of it and bumped into the forest very quick.”
Normally, the monkeys spend all day interacting with guests — stealing sun shades and water bottles, pulling at garments, leaping on shoulders — and Alit theorizes that extra than simply being hungry, they’re bored.
“That’s why I’ve urged villagers right here to come back to the forest to play with the monkeys and provide them meals,” he mentioned. “I believe they should work together with people as usually as potential in order that they don’t go wild.”
Karmini reported from Jakarta. Associated Press author David Rising in Bangkok contributed to this report.
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