In a bid to counter the headache monkeys pose to residents and farmers in Kaohsiung, people caught feeding monkeys are to be fined between NT$5,000 and NT$10,000, Kaohsiung Agriculture Bureau Deputy Director Cheng Chin-fu (鄭清福) said yesterday.
Since the promulgation of the regulations in 2012, the city government has focused on dissuading people from feeding monkeys and has only handed down fines when warnings were ignored, Cheng said.
However, starting on Monday next week, there will be no warnings and fines will be issued on the spot in accordance with the Kaohsiung Autonomous Regulations for Wildlife Conservation (高雄市野生動物保育自治條例) amended earlier this month by the city council.
Photo: CNA, courtesy of the Shoushan National Nature Park preparatory office
People who provide information, such as video recordings or photographs, that help identify those feeding monkeys could receive up to 20 percent of the fine as a reward, Chen added.
The city government made the decision after years of trying to dissuade people from feeding Taiwanese macaques on Shoushan (壽山) and Chaishan (柴山) in particular, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday.
The monkey population has exploded on the two mountains because of the practice, it said.
Incidents such as mountain climbers being attacked or visitors having their food stolen have also increased, spurring the authorities to adopt more stringent measures, it said.
There are between 1,400 and 1,600 monkeys on Chaishan, the report said, citing Chen Chen-chih (陳貞志), a professor at the Institute of Wildlife Conservation at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology.
However, officials are hopeful that the measures would finally keep visitors from feeding them, it added.
The monkeys are also a problem for local farmers. The bureau has over the years tried different methods, including using trained dogs, firecrackers, electric wire and even monkey-shaped scarecrows to scare away the animals that damage farmland, but to no avail, the report said.
National Sun Yat-sen University, which is near Chaishan, also feels the effects of badly behaved monkeys, which often break into student dormitories looking for food. Campus security guards chase them away with paintball guns and dogs or set traps, but such efforts have only had a limited effect.
Groups of volunteers have been dispatched to key entrances at the mountain parks to ask visitors not to feed the monkeys, but this has also had little effect, the report said.
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