Wanted in Taiwan village: staff to scare monkeys away from pineapples

Lucky candidate will set off firecrackers to scare animals away in July and August

Munching monkeys: damage to pineapples in Taitung County.

Munching monkeys: damage to pineapples in Taitung County. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A village in Taitung County is advertising a unique job opportunity: walk around town to chase monkeys away from the pineapple fields.

The village of Yanping has been plagued by hordes of Taiwanese macaques out to choose the fruit as the harvest period approaches, the Central News Agency reported Wednesday (July 3).

The monkeys are known to be picky consumers, only choosing the sweetest and undamaged pineapples, leaving the less marketable fruit for farmers to make a living from, locals said.

A farmer complained that he had planted 3,000 pineapple plants which produced 1,200 fruits, but as they ripened, the monkeys were coming to threaten his harvest, CNA reported.

As a preventive measure, Yanping is looking to appoint a professional monkey chaser to reduce the damage to agriculture to a minimum. The lucky person’s main task will be walking around the fields while setting off firecrackers to scare away the animals.

The technique can only be applied during daylight, while when the weather is dry care will have to be taken not to start a fire, according to the CNA report.

The salary on offer is hardly likely to attract many candidates though: NT$23,100 (US$742) per month is basically the minimum wage on the island. The registration period lasts from July 4 through 12, while the job itself has been scheduled for July 17 until August 31.

An estimated 30,000 macaques live in the region, with each family consisting of about 10 animals. They eat just about anything apart from sour plums, and sometimes just take one bite before throwing the rest of the fruit away, farmers complain.