Unintended Consequence Of Closing Borders, Limiting Tourism: Thailand Edition

Lack of tourism has changed the diet of monkeys in Thailand. Tourists no longer feed them bananas. Now they’re running amok.

Residents in Lopburi, Thailand, are hiding behind barricaded indoors as rival monkey gang fights create no-go zones for humans. The ancient Thai city has been overrun by a growing population of monkeys super-charged on junk food – as locals try to placate the macaques with snacks. The monkeys usually enjoy a steady supply of bananas from tourists, who have dwindled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pointing to the overhead netting covering her terrace, Kuljira Taechawattanawanna said: “We live in a cage but the monkeys live outside.”

Tourists would come see the monkeys. The monkey forest is a huge attraction in Bali as well. Now the government of Thailand is engaged in a sterilization campaign to keep monkeys in check since the lack of free bananas has led the monkeys to violence.

Here’s a look at the monkeys from back in March:

Question is, once the monkeys have been brought under control, and in some cases moved to a ‘sanctuary’ will that harm tourism in the long run even once COVID is over?

(HT: Marginal Revolution)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. That reminds me of the small, uninhabited islands off Phuket that have wild monkeys. In normal times, longtail boat captains would stop by them so tourists can toss their leftover fruit at the monkeys. I hope those little guys are doing alright.

  2. And we thought we had it bad over here with BLM protests, looting and burning. It has turned into a real zoo out there in Thailand!

  3. Some here want free college, a guaranteed national income, free housing, etc.

    And, ultimately, when you take away something that’s free and not earned from the masses…

  4. I’ll try to spin this BACK to the subject of the post, instead of politics….

    I have not been to Lopburi but stopped in a little park on the way from Bangkok to Sa Kaeo that featured lots of monkeys. They had a bunch of booths set up selling peanuts and bananas to feed the monkeys. I assume the lack of tourism has taken a toll on that little park, but it’s also in a rural part of Thailand frequented by Thais more so than foreign tourists.

    Even then, while cute, they could be a bit aggressive.If you dropped anything, kiss it goodbye! LOL

  5. Every interaction between tourists and animals in Thailand is about money, from the appalling elephant shows, to the photo-ops with drugged tigers.

  6. When monkeys are around, be sure to keep loose items secured, ie: phones, purses, bags. The monkeys will yank them away and you will never see these items again. Some Will try to pull bananas from the arms of people and sometimes get angry if one resists them. Lopburi is known as the Monkey Orovince in Thailand on the eay to the northern city of Chiang Mai. Fo not tease these monkeys as they can bite. They have most likely not hat their vaccinations as this cuts into the profits.

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