Is this the Planet of the Apes!?

Primate Election

In one Thai town, monkeys have become a fiery political issue — and the monkeys themselves are fighting back with a vengeance.

Long known for its once-charming population of macaques, the tourist town of Lopburi in south-central Thailand has, as previous reports indicated, become overrun with wild, hungry monkeys in the peri-pandemic years after the town cleared out due to COVID precautions.

While officials have attempted various measures to try to keep them in check — including relocation, mass sterilization, and even policing efforts — some locals have begun lobbying them to do more. So signs went up calling for a moratorium on monkey business — and the macaques quite literally struck back.

As a translated article from the Thairath news site explains, things went bananas after angry residents and shopkeepers put up posters in the town's market district imploring the country's National Parks Service to "evict" the monkeys. That area seems to be where the Lopburi macaques like to sleep, and after the signs went up, the market's primate residents began tearing them down.

Monkey Business

If this were a one-off incident it would already be strange enough, but this kind of thing has been going on in Lopburi for years now.

A viral video from 2021 — which was subsequently reshared in March of this year as if it were new — shows what can only be referred to as street gangs of macaques roaming the streets of Lopburi looking for food. More recently, police in the town have developed task forces to protect tourists from the hungry monkeys, arming themselves with slingshots and tranquilizer guns in non-lethal attempts to take care of Lopburi's primate scourge.

Missing from the discourse surrounding Lopburi's discord are discussions of animal rights or conservation, though watching footage of the macaques makes it easy to see why folks are more concerned for the well-being of the town's human population than its primates.

If nothing else, the Lopburi monkey debacle once again illustrates our uneasy relationship with local fauna — and how defenseless we can be against a surprise attack.

More on animal rebellion: Elephant Escapes Circus, Thunders Through Montana City

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