[monkeywire] Monkey business is not good business for Taitung farmers
francisco at tweakfilms.com
Mon Jul 28 13:32:35 EDT 2003
Monkey business is not good business for Taitung farmers
The Formosan macaque, a monkey protected under Taiwan law, has become a
pest to farmers living near the mountains.
The monkeys are protected because they are unique to the island, but
their increasing numbers have made them the dominate primate in the
mountainous regions. They act in groups, and according to farmers in
these areas, have become more and more bold and aggressive.
In Taitung County, located at the eastern end of Taiwan's Central
Mountains, an owner of a chicken farm complained that the monkeys often
harass his chickens. And he said they aren't doing it for food, but
instead are just playing monkey games such as plucking the feathers of
roosters and placing hens on branches high up in the trees.
A goat ranch owner in Fuyuan, Taitung County, said that a Formosan
macaque arrived at his ranch this year and soon started harassing his
goats, even sexually attacking the female ones.
He said he bought six dogs to keep the monkey away from his goats, but
the monkey tamed the dogs within ten minutes. At first, the monkey
stood out of the reach of the dogs which were kept on leads, and then
slapped them in the face when they became tired of barking at him.
Frightened by the monkey, the dogs became timid in its presence.
The farmer said he had to turn to agricultural officials to have the
monkey captured using an anesthetic dart gun.
Another farmer who raises boars in Tama, Taitung County, said wild
monkeys often tease his boars by riding on their backs like a man on a
In the mountain villages of Wulu and Litao where farmers grow cabbage
and green peppers, the wild monkeys seem to know better than the
farmers when the crops become ripe. They raid the fields in their
hundreds, not only eating until they are full but also ravaging the
nearby crops before the farmers can harvest them.
The irrigation pipes laid by farmers to channel water from the
mountains to their fields has become the monkeys' highway. They climb
through them to cross streams and valleys and into fruit gardens.
As if knowing that they are protected by law, the monkeys are not
easily frightened away by the farmers when they see them coming.
The farmers have gone to extra lengths to protect their crops, using
such methods as setting off firecrackers, playing tape recordings of
gun shots sounding every few seconds, or keeping dogs in their fields.
However, all these efforts have been in vain, as the monkeys keep
coming back. Its seems that in Taiwan's mountainous regions, it is the
Formosan macaque which rules the roost.
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