Dozens of starving monkeys sparked panic after taking over a school swimming pool and raiding bins.
The notoriously unruly primates descended on the secondary school in Lopburi province, Thailand, on Tuesday (Feb 2).
The are from the town where a huge monkey gang fight erupted last March, leading officials to sterilise the population.
However, efforts to tame the population of wild monkeys seems to have had little effect and they raided the school to play in the pool.
They also scoured grounds for students’ leftover lunch in the garbage bins, causing problems to the teachers who are having classes at the time.
A student from the Pibul Witthayalai School said they were not able to have PE classes anymore in the pool because the monkeys would be there ‘having a pool party’ when the weather became too hot.
She said: ‘We used to swim for PE but since the monkeys arrived, we never get to do it anymore. They act like they are the owners of it now.’
The girl added that the monkeys would even steal their lunch and search unattended bags for treats or clothes.
She said: ‘They once stole my clothes that I was planning to change into for my basketball game. I did not try to chase it because I’m afraid it would attack me.’
Whenever the monkeys are not in the pool, they would be spotted climbing the fence surrounding the school or wandering into the playground.
The school principal said they have instructed the teachers to watch out for their students whenever the monkeys came.
He said: ‘We want a healthy environment for our students so we are extra-careful whenever the monkeys arrived.’
The school head added that the monkeys have visited the ground after the zoos and parks were closed due to Covid-19. They have gradually become more confident.
He said: ‘Tourists used to give them food but no one visits the parks anymore so they were left starving. I understand that they are visiting the school to look for food, but it’s starting to become a problem.’
To prevent the primates from accessing the school grounds, higher fences with electric voltage were installed around the compound.
The monkeys have continued to wander into the city because of the shortage of food inside the parks especially after accepting of tourists was halted due to the pandemic.
Last year, monkeys in another province Lopburi were sterilised after their numbers spiralled out of control during the coronavirus lockdown, with well-meaning locals feeding them sugary drinks.