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Jan 29, 2009

Talking To Monkeys

There’s this troop of about 30 long tail macaque that’s been giving my friend, Nirmal’s household a hard time.  They would make an

appearance 3 times a day without fail. 


Long Tail Macaque


They will make a mess - salt, onions, potatoes, will be everywhere. In the garden, they will topple potted plants and break off branches and just create general mayhem.  It became so bad that my friend’s family is locked in everyday with all the windows closed.


The alpha male is especially BAD.  You threaten him with a stick or something and he glares at you, shows his fangs and make several threatening launches at you. And he is big, about 10kg.



Reporting to pest control is out of the question.  Their solution can be drastic; culling or forcible removal of the whole family.  That will not solve the problem.  Another troop will take over the territory.  We need to co-exist but how? How do we tell the monkeys that, hey, you stay at that side of the fence, and we this side and we leave each other alone.


A few days ago, I had a brainwave and hatched a plan.  After discussing with my friend, we proceeded.   I tossed just a few bananas at a chosen spot within the property.  The alpha female came with her children.  But because it is just a few bananas, maybe two or three got to eat them.  I did that over the next couple of days.  Just a few pisang at the same spot to tell them, here’s where you get good food.  The intention was to attract the alpha male as I have a plan to TALK TO HIM and arrive at a truce.


Sure enough, one day he appeared.  The rest of the troop kept a safe distance from him as he gobble up the pisang and left nothing for the rest.  So far so good.  Then I set a trap with one banana inside and slices leading to the trap, to inside the trap and to the bait.  And I have him!!


 Huge guy, about 10 kg and MEAN.  He was trashing and baring his teeth and hissing away.


With Nirmal to distract him, I proceeded to spray bright red paint on his body and limbs while avoiding his eyes.




He was livid.  Then after about 3 to 4 minutes he started to notice the red paint and he must be going, I am injured, I am bleeding to death.  Suddenly, he flops over and shows his belly.  I have him! 



So I tell him, well, ok, now we understand each other.  This here is my territory, you come in here you are going to get a trashing and you will bleed to death.  And I stop the spraying.  He jumps back on his feet and suddenly bared his teeth again.  You just can’t trust a monkey! And I started to spray the paint again.   And he looks at his red palms and feet and arms and he flops over again, ok, ok, you are the man, you are the boss.  I am not going to enter your space anymore!



This time I believe him.  I hold off for 10 to 15 secs for him to get his breathe, and then I opened the cage and he dashed out.  Not in fear or in anger, no, he dashed off looking like a subdued monkey. 


The next day the security cameras showed the troop hanging around the perimeter.  Later in the afternoon, the alpha male, with some of the red paint still intact,  could be seen walking on top of the fence but not once did any of the troop crossed the boundary.




Today is the third day and still no monkey crossing the boundary.  Our little talk worked.