Monkeys in Thailand are continuing to go hungry and rely on donations from locals as they desperately wait for tourists to return and feed them.
Footage shows a group of macaques feasting on ripe mangoes given to them by a kind police officer in Songkhla province on April 22.
The hungry primates gathered at their usual spots in the park while waiting for tourists to arrive when retired wildlife worker Wipat Wangsapab pulled over with a sack of fruit.
Wipat said he took his grandson to the area so they could bring fruits to the creatures as he felt sorry for them.
He said: ‘I took my grandson with me so he could help me feed them. The monkeys were excited to see us like they understand that we were tourists who came to bring them something to eat.’
Monkeys in the province especially in the Khao Noi and Khao Tang Kuan areas which both used to be popular destinations would be fed by visiting tourists who give them fruits and nuts.
However, the animals lost their main source of food when the Covid-19 pandemic struck as most of the parks were closed and travel restrictions were imposed.
The pandemic also affected street vendors who used to sell bananas, corn and other snacks.
Now the monkeys survive on snacks given to them by locals who bring food to stop them from starving.
Retired officer Wipat added that he wanted to ask other residents to buy fruits from the vendors so they could help both the monkeys and the workers who rely on tourism for income.
He said: ‘I also want to ask other people in our province to buy what the vendors are selling near these parks. The monkeys are starving and the businesses were badly affected as well.’
Songkhla province is known for its population of wild monkeys that roam freely in national parks. Some of them live around Buddhist temples. They were normally well-fed by visiting tourists but since the start of the pandemic, they have been going hungry.