Is this an effective way to frighten a long-tailed macaque? Some of the people who visit Don Chao Poo Forest in Phana, Amnat Charoen Province, Thailand, seem to think so.
(CLICK on an image for an enlarged view)
There seems to be the possibility here for some fun research. Which cuddly toy are the monkeys most/ least afraid of? Yesterday I found a sub-adult male monkey tenderly grooming a cuddly dirty-white rabbit! Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me. Not for the first time I have resolved to ALWAYS have it with me.
Phana Hospital was built on land which was formerly part of the “protected” forest and many monkeys still regard it as part of their territory (see my previous post). The hospital car park displays this sign:
It warns people to beware of monkey bite! This is in the hospital car park because every day a noodle vendor waits there to feed people who come to visit patients, though the monkeys assume that he is there to feed them.
Another monkey-frightener is the shiny, plastic crocodile. This one has the force of Buddhist mythology behind it, because in the tales of the Buddha’s previous lives there are several in which crocodiles are shown as enemies of monkeys. The crocodiles always want to eat the monkeys in these stories but they are outwitted by the superior brain-power of the monkeys.
These plastic crocs are reproducing at a rate almost as fast as the monkeys and appropriately they are seen most often at the hospital where they keep monkeys off the smart cars belonging to doctors and nurses. At first just one doctor put her faith in a plastic crocodile but she has been followed by at least four others.
The conclusion has to be that green plastic crocodiles are an effective deterrent to long-tailed macaques. Would someone like to devise an experimental procedure for testing this hypothesis?