Tue, Sep 25, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Hikers warned to avoid animals

WATCH YOUR STEP:There have been several incidents recently of visitors to Greater Kaohsiung’s Shoushan being bitten by snakes or having scuffles with monkeys

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer

Two monkeys rest on a bench at Shoushan National Park in Greater Kaohsiung on Friday last week.

Photo: CNA

Hikers in the Greater Kaohsiung area should avoid stepping into grassy areas when climbing Shoushan (壽山) because, aside from monkeys, snakes and the Formosan Reeves’ muntjac may all pose threats to safety, the Greater Kaohsiung Government’s tourism bureau said.

Bureau official Chen Yi-tang (陳奕棠) cited as an example the case of a man from Greater Tainan being bitten by a Chinese green tree viper in the parking lot when he and his son were about to visit the Shoushan Zoo.

The man was hospitalized for days, Chen said, adding that it was good that the city government had invested in a public accident liability insurance program in August last year.

The insurance compensates an individual NT$500,000 (US$17,045) for personal injuries, NT$2 million for liability for injury and a maximum of NT$5 million while the victim is still under contract with the insurance company.

In another incident, a young woman was on a hiking trip from Longcyuan Temple (龍泉寺) in Greater Kaohsiung’s Gushan District (鼓山) on Sept. 16. When she opened her bag to retrieve something, Formosan rock macaques dove out to grab it, Chen said.

In the tussle that ensued, the woman was bitten. After she called in at city hall to complain, the city government also aided her in applying for insurance compensation, Chen said.

The monkeys, snakes and muntjacs on Shoushan are all wild and are liable to scare tourists, Chen said, adding that tourists should remain calm and walk away from the incidents, and avoid walking in the grass.

Chen said people should not pick up stones to attack the animals, which might exacerbate the situation, Chen said.

Shoushan National Park supervisor Ou Cheng-hsing (歐正興) cited another incident on April 4, in which a 70 year-old woman was involved in a tussle with monkeys that were trying to take her backpack.

She was scratched by the monkeys and had to visit the hospital multiple times, Ou said, adding that the insurance company had already settled out of court for a sum of NT$8,000.

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