TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Experts set off firecrackers on Friday morning (Oct. 23) to keep away a pack of Formosan macaques that have recently made a school campus their playground, harassing students and vandalizing CCTV equipment.
A wild monkey spotted from a distance may look adorable, but when a pack of wild monkeys besiege you with a fierce expression, they are certainly going to give you a fright. That is the situation which students and faculty members at Yuan Ming Junior High School of Yunlin County found themselves in on Wednesday (Oct. 23), when more than 30 Formosan macaques created a chaos at the campus.
Those wild monkeys, which inhabit a forest near the school, were reported to have scared students on their way to school and tried to steal their breakfast. They were also culpable of vandalism such as tearing down a CCTV device and breaking a window wire mesh.
The school has been weary of tackling these monkeys in recent years, and they have become even more savage this year, said the school’s principal Ting ching-feng (丁清峯). The animals used to wander about in corridors but run away when seeing people coming, he said. On Wednesday, however, they showed up in unprecedented amounts and had confrotations with school staff.
In response, the county government sent people to let firecrackers off on Friday morning to keep the wild animals away. The practice will be continued for a while before experts find a better way to address the issue.
Firecrackers are set off on Oct. 23 to keep wild monkeys away (CNA photo)
Chang Wen-tung (張文東), an official from the county’s Agriculture Bureau, said the bureau had subsidized farmers to set up electric fencing around their farms to keep the monkeys away, reported CNA. Yet the same approach may not be as effective, since there are utility poles and wires surrounding the school, which can be used by monkeys to avoid the electric fences, he observed.
Chang believed more and more monkeys were being spotted in lowland areas because they have grown accustomed to being fed by tourists. Once the tourists gone, the animals were unable to find enough food after harvest time. He called on people to stop feeding wild monkeys.
Endemic to Taiwan, the Formosan macaque was once a protected species until their conservation status was removed in 2018, due to their growing numbers across the country. However, hunting for them is still prohibited.