Karangasem concerned by rising monkey population
Karangasem regent I Wayan Geredeg has expressed his concern over the rocketing population of monkeys in the regency, forcing the locals to widely hunt and kill the animals.
“I have received so many reports from the local residents, mostly farmers, saying that hundreds of monkeys are making an exodus from their normal habitat in the hilly, forested areas and invading farms and residential areas,” the regent said to Bali Daily by phone on Friday afternoon.
The regent also clarified that he did not intend to kill the monkeys using the traditional methods reported by the local media.
“It was just a joke. The local administration has yet to find efficient ways to handle the increasing monkey population here. We are open to advice from all parties with regard to this case,” Geredeg said.
Last Thursday, the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) had strongly condemned the regent’s plan to eradicate monkeys due to the uncontrollable rise in their numbers. In particular, his alleged idea to make use of traditional ways of killing the monkeys saying it would lead to violations of animal rights and animal cruelty.
“It’s primitive and very cruel to put thorns in the rectums of the monkeys so they become violent and kill each other. Just because your father did it, doesn’t make it right. There are humane ways to deal with population control,” the letter said.
Monkeys in Bali are commonly long-tailed macaques. Their scientific name is Macaca fascicuiaris. Macaques are found throughout Southeast Asia and many species of macaque live successfully in areas that are heavily utilized by humans.
In Bali, there are Balinese long-tailed macaque troops (populations) that live in areas where they have little to no contact with humans, while other troops come into contact with humans on a regular basis.
However, despite the fact that many species of macaque thrive in areas that are heavily utilized by humans, there is evidence that the viability of Balinese long-tailed macaques (the ability of macaques to continue to thrive) may be dependent upon the conservation of Bali’s forested areas.
The current hunting and killing of monkeys was triggered by the death of a 65-year-old farmer living in Nongan village early last week.
The grandfather was found dead with wounds all over his body and there was suspicion that he
had been bitten by a group of monkeys when he was bathing in the nearby river.
Since that occurrence, dozens of farmers have been hunting the monkeys.
Locals have even performed a ritual called Nangluk Mrana to get rid of monkeys from their village.
Geredeg admitted that the presence of monkeys was, among other reasons, caused by the elimination of dogs in the area.
“In the past, wild dogs were roaming the forested areas and villages. They actually protected the villages from these wild monkeys,” the regent said.
The dog elimination program was part of the Bali administration’s anti-rabies campaign.
Wita Wahyudi, an activist from Pro-Fauna Bali, said that an effective solution to slow down the growing monkey population was by performing vasectomies.
“The monkeys have left their original habitat for so many reasons. Their habitat could be damaged or disturbed by human or natural causes. They probably could not find enough food in their usual areas, forcing them to move down to the farms,” said Wita.
Pro-Fauna has not yet made a comprehensive study of the size of the monkey populations on the island, but, she said, the organization had not received any reports of human casualties.