Indonesia: Armed police and soldiers deployed to scare off wild monkeys

A monkey as seen at Bama beach in Situbondo in the East Java province. Source: Reuters

A TROOP of wild monkeys in the Boyolali district of Central Java has called upon the attention of Indonesian task forces after the animals began to pose danger to locals by “terrorizing” certain areas, stealing food, raiding plantations, and in some cases, attacking children and the elderly.

Reuters reported the long-tailed macaques had been increasingly bold in their interactions with humans, and Indonesian armed police and soldiers had been deployed to hunt down the animals.

“The monkeys had started coming here two months ago,” said police chief Aries Andhi. “After we shot one of them, the rest didn’t come back. Now they are back again.”

He said they wouldn’t shoot the monkeys so long as they don’t bother the villagers.

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Coconuts Jakarta reported local hunting clubs were joining in on the fight with the Indonesian Snipers Association, sending out about 10 people daily from nearby towns to aid with patrols.

Dozens of men – including policemen, soldiers, and those from shooting clubs – armed with rifles are ready to take down the monkeys.

Central Java’s Natural Resource Conservation Agency coordinator Heru Sunarko told Reuters  that slingshots, paintball, or firecrackers too, can scare away the monkeys.

“But monkeys are intelligent. If the people have used a slingshot, tomorrow they have to use something else. Monkeys can read these tactics,” he said.

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These extreme methods have been opposed by animal protection groups who said the “destruction of natural forest habitats was pushing macaques into conflict with humans”.

“They are raiding people’s houses or gardens because they need food,” Robithotul Huda of International Animal Rescue Indonesia told Reuters. “Their natural habitat, teak or pine forests, have changed into commercial forests.”

He added that fruit was scarce in the current dry season, and efforts to scare the animals is only but a temporary solution.

Additional reporting by Reuters.