A wealthy local donated food to monkeys who were going hungry during the Covid-19 tourism downturn in Thailand. Yongyuth Jitwattnanukorn brought bags of fruits and snacks outside a Buddhist temple to feed the hungry primates in Lopburi province on June 30. The businessman’s staff brought the food in wheelchairs at the Phra Prang Sam Yod temple and performed a ceremonial dance before handing out the food to the animals. He handed out some of the snacks while excited monkeys gathered around him taking their pick from the available bananas, mangosteens, grapes, and apples. Yongyuth said: ‘I want to help them survive during these hard times. Everyone is struggling including the animals. I hope we all get through the pandemic.’ Lopburi, around 95 miles north of the capital Bangkok, has a large population of wild monkeys that roam the streets and buildings. Locals believe they are lucky and pay respect to them with a festival every year. However, the monkeys have often gone hungry since the pandemic started and tourists were unable to visit the country to feed the animals. A government agency study showed that tourists feeding monkeys were one of the key factors resulting to overpopulation as most food that they consumed had a high quantity of carbohydrates causing a change in their eating habits and a higher sexual drive. Officials are now considering creating a ‘monkey colony’ project or moving the animals to an island over the past two years as an alternative to mass sterilisation.
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