What should we do about the monkeys?
In Phana, we have to continue down the road we have been going for the last thirty years or so. There can be no turning back.
But it is worth considering what it is that we have been doing for the last 30 years.
By feeding the colony that lives in Don Chao Poo, we have:
protected them from farmers and others who might have killed them in order to defend their crops and property;
limited their ‘ranging’ prolonged their lives, resulting in population growth and a diminishing share of their natural habitat and food supply;
made them become lazy and greedy;
made them become familiar with humans, unafraid of them, and sometimes aggressive towards them;
introduced them to foods which may not be appropriate for them.
In effect, we have domesticated them.
On the other hand, if we had fired catapaults at them and had not fed them, they would have lived a more natural life. They would have remained the ‘wild’ creatures we imagine we want them to be.
But we would have been denied the feel-good factor.
Hopefully, if Phana succeeds in its current aim to set up some sort of educational centre in or near Don Chao Poo, we will learn how to treat our monkeys better and begin to see them for themselves and not merely as a means of making ourselves feel good.