Thu, Jun 11, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Beitou macaques up to monkey business

By Hsiao Ting-fang and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A hilly neighborhood in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) has become a favorite haunt of Formosan rock macaques, with local residents reporting disturbances caused by the primates and seeking reinforced macaque controls.

Macaques often appear in bands and forage on farms in hilly terrain around Old Tianmu Trail (天母古道) at the foot of Yangmingshan, farmers said, adding that they often lose produce to the roving bandits.

The monkeys have gone beyond the farms to Yonghe Borough (永和) in Beitou, where a troop has been increasingly active since last week, intimidating residents and fouling the environment with excrement, residents said.

The Taipei City Animal Protection Office said that it inspected sites in the borough and set up traps to deter the animals from coming into conflict with humans, aiming to strike a balance between the preservation of the protected species and protecting farmers’ crops.

National Pingtung University of Science and Technology wildlife conservation professor Su Hsiu-hui (蘇秀慧) said that there is a high correlation between macaques’ migration and their food sources, and it is likely that the monkeys are emerging in the neighborhood because people are feeding them.

The office is considering setting up signs in the borough warning residents and tourists against feeding, interrupting or coming into contact with the monkeys, while keeping tabs on macaque activities and people possibly feeding the animals via a police surveillance camera system.

The public should refrain from feeding wild macaques, or Yangmingshan could become another Shoushan (“Monkey Mountain”) in Kaohsiung, where thousands of monkeys live and pester hikers who have food, office director Yen I-feng (嚴一峰) said.

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