Sunday, January 26, 2014

Do not feed the monkeys!

This is one monkey that knows where it's all at!
Hide and seek along with the grooming?

Some years back, my then regular hiking companion and I went along a trail that took us through Kam Shan Country Park that got us realizing that it's Monkey Central, not least because of stupid people (illegally?) driving up from Tai Po Road deep into the country park to (definitely illegally) feed the monkeys that now make the area their home.  That experience was so unpleasant that it wasn't until today that I ventured again into that area -- this time with not just one but three hiking buddies in tow!

I'm happy to report that this afternoon's hike was a good deal more pleasant than the one that provided ample proof that Kam Shan (aka Golden Hill) really deserves its Monkey Hill nickname.  Although we saw plenty of monkeys on our hike (again particularly along Golden Hill Road, and also along the Eagle's Nest Nature Trail in the neighboring Lion Rock Country Park), I felt quite a bit safer because, this time around, there were four in our group.  In addition, this time around, we didn't see any people trying to feed the wild macaques that are an introduced species to Hong Kong.

Maybe people actually are paying heed to the signs and banners put up by the authorities telling people not to feed the monkeys. At the same time, the fact that quite a few of the macaques we saw looked so expectant when they saw humans makes me think that they really have have come to look upon humans for free food.

Almost needless to say, I way prefer those monkeys who ignore the presence of humans to do what monkeys more naturally do (e.g., groom each other) to the ones the simian beggars (or, worse, snatch thieves).  In a perfect world, people also shouldn't tempt the monkeys by holding out food and eating in front of them.  More than incidentally, a man who was conspicuously munching away walked by our group at one point -- and it was startling to see the amount of monkeys that suddenly appeared along the path, and that he left in his wake and staring at us, seemingly with the hope that these other humans they saw would feed them.

At the very least, I hope more people will heed the following warnings and advice seen on an Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department banner hanging near Kowloon Reservoir today: "Feeding of wild animals leads to problems. Nature can meet their needs. Wild Animal Protection Ordinance (CAP, 170): Feeding of Wild Monkeys is Prohibited. Maximum Penalty is a Fine of HK$10,000".


Bill said...

Hi Yvonne,

I admit to being wary around monkeys, especially the ones who hang out near to civilization. I can understand why you'd want to go with a group because these mischievious-looking simian punks (probably spoiled by people food) could attack a hiker for their food.

On another subject, your Sony DSC-HX50V, which you mentioned in a previous blog, gets generally favorable online reviews. A major U.S. consumer magazine rated it a top choice for a versatile "traveler's camera."


YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

A friend of mine told a tale of a monkey that jumped on top of a hiker's backpack and started rummaging through it -- while he was wearing it! I definitely hope I'll be spared that experience!

And the Sony DSC-HX50V has performed well pretty far -- though I do wish it had a specific macro setting. ;S

Bill said...


I had to add a further comment here about your friend and the monkey rummaging through the hiker's backpack. It made me recall an incident I once had with a monkey.

Years ago on Bali, I was touring through what is known as the Monkey Forest, with an English couple. Suddenly, a monkey flew through the air, landed on my shoulder, snatched my glasses off my face, and ran into the forest with my glasses.

Well, with the help of a local guide, I located the monkey perched on a Hindu temple, my glasses dangling from its hand. I had to give three bags of peanuts to the devil-monkey before it dropped my glasses at my feet...The frames were bent out of shape and the lenses full of dust...The English couple thought it was hilarious. The rest of the day they continued to laugh over the incident, pointing their finger at me saying repeatedly, "Why, that man literally had a monkey on his back! Someone please get the monkey off the poor man's back!"


YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

Poor you! And I hope you could see it okay despite your spectacles frame haven't been bent out of shape and the lense full of dust! :O

alejna said...

So glad you had a better experience with the monkeys this time! (There's a sentence I don't write every day…) Those photos are great. I especially love the top one with the signs. The glow of sunlight on the monkey's fur is beautiful.

YTSL said...

Hi Alejna --

With the monkeys, it's a case of safety and security in numbers -- for the humans venturing into monkey territory, that is!