HUA HIN, Thailand – There will be no more monkeying around if a bid to sterilize hundreds of rambunctious monkeys at a popular Buddhist temple in Thailand succeeds.
Thousands of monkeys live on the grounds of the Wat Khao Takiab seaside temple near the popular tourist town of Hua Hin, but they have recently become a nuisance for local villagers and tourists, an epa journalist reported on Sunday.
Officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation told epa that some 3,000 monkeys live in the temple area, which is about 200 kilometers south of Bangkok.
Many temples in Thailand, including Wat Khao Takiab allow visitors to buy small amounts of food such as peanuts, corn and bananas to feed to the monkeys.
Though the resulting feeding frenzy makes for great wildlife photography, the furry primates are known for taking more food than they’re offered and stealing other items from humans and can become aggressive.
In an effort to control the number of simians there, veterinarians from the department have since Friday been carrying out a sterilization campaign on young monkeys.
Some 60 monkeys were sterilized on Friday and by Jul. 20 the department aims to sterilize about 500 in total, with a possible second round planned for next year.
The process starts with an official spreading pieces of corn and fruit on the floor of a large metal cage, which draws in dozens of hungry monkeys.
They are later diverted into smaller cages and then driven by truck for about 10 kilometers to a clinic, where veterinarians carefully inject each one with anesthetic.
Once all the primates in the cage are asleep, they’re taken inside the clinic and undergo the sterilization procedure, which takes about 10 minutes per monkey.
The department reportedly plans to conduct the same campaign at a temple in Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand.