Monkey Business

Lucky 28:

(Photo, couresty of CNA)  The rapid increase in the population of Taiwan monkeys (Formosan macaques) in the Tsaishan area of the southern port city of Kaohsiung prompts the city government to hire people to drive them back into the woods.

(Photo, couresty of CNA) The rapid increase in the population of Taiwan monkeys (Formosan macaques) in the Tsaishan area of the southern port city of Kaohsiung prompts the city government to hire people to drive them back into the woods.

Kaohsiung City Government has had enough!  The city is calling on the people, any 28 unemployed Taiwanese for a temporary job.  It’s monkey business!  NT$100 per hour or NT$800 for a day’s work for ushering-off the Taiwan monkeys (Formosan macaques).

These funny looking creatures have been pestering residents and tourists, and have even been known to theft!

This temporary assistance for the unemployed is one of among the various projects launched by the Koahsiung City government, in support of the Council of Labour Affairs (CLA) to relieve financial stresses and creating a more pleasant environment for all people.


Protection For You and Me:

The temporary job’s key goal is to assist in safeguarding residents and avoid unwanted confrontations between the people and protected animals, reported an official of the city government.

Roadside trail sign warns local passer-byers

Roadside trail sign warns local passer-byers

The Formosan [Rock] Macaques (台灣彌猴) are included in the list of endangered species, in need of protection and conversation, Taiwan is as such highlighted with the breed, as is one of the few local species that the island provides.

In the once peaceful Taishan (柴山) area, the creatures enjoy an unusually rapid and high fertility rates, due to improper feeding practices, a habit increased among visitors passing through the area.  As a result, the primates have become overweight and diagnosed with hypertension.

There have been a number of reports on the monkeys having broken into residents’ homes or gardens, in search for food.  Among the reports, they have harassed tourists, who have had refused to offer free food or snacks.

Environment protectionists are pressing the city government to issue stricter rules in banning visitors from feeding wildlife animals.  Currently, there is a circulating fine of NTD $6,000 to violators – however, the rules were rarely enforced.

A family of monkeys are distracted as they scavage over the road for food, endangered by possible oncoming traffic.

A family of monkeys are distracted as they scavage over the road for food, endangered by possible oncoming traffic.

The to-be selected “chasers” tasks mainly consist of chasing the monkeys from the open roads and reminding visitors not to feed the wildlife for the period of the next eight months (up to October, 2009).

Residents are willing to comply and even encourage the plan.

In costs, the government is taking from budget NTD $4 million in hopes that the project will change the habit for both sides and that gradually, the animals would then leave the people alone.

Taiwanese:

The Formosan Macaques on Wushan, Taiwan.

The Formosan Macaques on Wushan, Taiwan.


The Formosan Macaque (Macaca cyclopis) evolved from the Rhesus Macaque (M. Mulatta) ancestor, upon isolating themselves on the island of Taiwan.  Today, they are restricted to coastal rain forests in the South, and mountainous forests – due to human habitation and encounterment.

The studied population (roughly 790 members) occupies Mt. Longevity, a protected area with tropical lowland rain forest, located within city limits of Koahsiung.  From January 1995, there are 16 troops in monitoring on a regular basis across the general areas, at least three times a week.

>>> The study of the Formosan species, can be acquired through here.  <<

The Endagerment:

The Formosan Rock Macaque (Macaca Cyclopis), under wikipedia, is listed as LC (or Least Concern) in the level of Conservation Status.

The Formosan Rock Macaque (Macaca Cyclopis), under wikipedia, is listed as "LC" (or Least Concern) in the level of Conservation Status.

In 1989, the Wildlife Conservation Law was intact: the survival of the creatures was in jeopardy, according to the reports of the time.

Professor of Biology at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), Wang Ying says, “At least 3,000 monkeys a year used to be killed for food and other uses.  For example, people could buy ashtrays made from monkey skulls in night markets.  This tarnished Taiwan’s international image drastically.”

The image of Indiana Jones’ adventures comes to mind…

When the Aboriginals discovered that certain caves were the primates’ habitat, they resolved into capturing them for their meat for lack of other provisions.  Monkey-hunting still exist to this day.

A survey, conducted by the Council of Agriculture (COA) determined the effectiveness of efforts in assisting the rebound of the population as well to gain insight into their mysterious ecological balance and relations between human-and-monkey communities.

The monkeys pick the reddest fruits to eat, and spit out the seeds. They cannot swallow them because that may cause indigestion, said Liao Ching-tung, a coffee farmer for 30 years who has recently taken up roasting the regurgitated seeds.

"The monkeys pick the reddest fruits to eat, and spit out the seeds. They cannot swallow them because that may cause indigestion," said Liao Ching-tung, a coffee farmer for 30 years who has recently taken up roasting the regurgitated seeds.

According to the council’s estimate, the Formosan Macaque population has increased (from the time recorded) and is at approximately 250,000 grouped in some 10,000 troops.

“The increasing numbers of the Formosan rock monkeys (as they are often referred to) are symbolic of the earnestness of Taiwan’s conservation efforts.  It’s good to see Taiwan’s gradual redemption from its reputation as an animal-unfriendly country,” explains Wang.

The bad news is that the survey reveals the many problems in the complex relationship among humans and the primates as either populations increase.

“Of all the wild animals in Taiwan’s mountain forests, the tenacious Formosan rock monkey has the best learning ability,” says Wang.

According to the professor, the species is believed to hold the intelligence of a 3, or 4-year-old human child as well as complex personality traits.

Mayor of Kaohsiung, Frank [Chang-Ting] Hsieh (謝長廷), however, begs to differ from the Wildlife Conservation, and states that the Formosan macaques are “not endangered.”

Though as it may be, the only monkey species native to Taiwan, is only listed as “vulnerable” in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red Data Book, however the Mayor disagrees: the species is “far from being in danger of extinction in Taiwan.”

Hsieh further states that the “violent macaques” with “a strong tendency to attack mountain hikers” have been thus removed from Mount Longevity and relocated at “the campus of National Ping-Tung University of Science and Technology.”

Fierce Competition:

A visitor enjoying the local scenery of the mountains, is playful with a family of monkeys.

A visitor enjoying the local scenery of the mountains, is playful with a family of monkeys.

People may have been known to compete to feed the primates and they are more than eager to rush in grabbing the free food, which often results in fights.  The young attack the elder and death rates among the juveniles are at record highs.

Chang Shih-Wei, a research fellow of the Forestry Institute, and member of the Macaque Census team, elaborates on the situation, “… because visitors feed the monkeys, they go crazy when people arrive.  They have lost their previous fear of humans, and this causes people to mistakenly believe that there are monkeys everywhere.”

“When visitors feed monkeys or tease them, some are clawed or chased by playful and naughty monkeys,” Chang continues.

This is in comparison to those in the Fushan region of Yilan County where they enjoy a more peaceful life in the wild, despite spending an average of six hours a day, scavenging for food.  The Fushan region of the species hold a more balanced diet, feeding over 90 various plant species, consuming all things from roots, stems, leaves and shoots to fruits and nuts.

Chang expresses his concerns, however, “… feeding habits may also influence the ecology of the local flora…  The government should go beyond the work of repopulating a few protected species, and should put forward a more comprehensive plan to promote the island’s biodiversity.”

Thankfully, the current plan finally listened and observed the problem, hopefully it will be the answer.  Who will be the lucky 28?

Advertisements

~ by Lan on 2008 SatUTC2009-02-14T18:07:55+00:00. 15.

One Response to “Monkey Business”

  1. These monkey’s behavior reminds me of a funny incident, years ago, when a young lady I know was on a South African safari. While staying at a hut one day, a monkey stole her orange.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: