For the past week forestry officials have been working to rid the Kompong Chhnang provincial government office of pesky monkeys who have been destroying property and biting children, officials said yesterday.
Provincial Governor Touch Marim said the macaques did not harm anyone at the office but they did damage cars, motorcycles, office supplies and the landscape outside the local government office.
“Now the monkeys are scared and fled, so it’s better than before the forestry administration did their work,” he said. “I heard they only caught five or six monkeys.”
The raucous monkeys came from a small gang of macaques who were released in the area five years ago by the previous governor after the monkeys were confiscated from a wildlife hunter, he said.
Hul Vesna, deputy Kompong Chhnang district police chief, said that so far two students, around 10 years old, were bitten by the monkeys, identified as long-tail macaques, so provincial officials had to call forestry officials to catch the animals. Some of the monkeys were caught and some fled but that he has only seen two or three monkeys around the office since the raid by forestry officials.
Officials from the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge Center and forestry officials were sent to Kompong Chhnang to help catch the creatures, Phnom Tamao chief Nhiek Rattanak Pich said yesterday by telephone.
“It is difficult to catch that monkey because it is clever,” he said.
Mr Rattanak Pich said that he did not know how many were apprehended or what would happen to the ones that were caught- that would depend on a number of factors, such as the health of the animals and how they interacted with people. He added the animals were currently detained at the provincial forestry administration office.
“The monkeys have to have their blood tested first before we decide to keep them in the zoo or release them into the forest,” he added.
Mr Rattanak Pich said that 400 macaques live at Phnom Tamao and that they were abundant at Wat Phnom, some of which have become aggressive with people as they no longer fear humans and have been known to destroy property and attack people.
“Monkeys can be dangerous because it is in its nature to protect itself from humans,” he said.
Sen Kosal, chief of the provincial forestry administration, confirmed that his team caught several monkeys but declined to give further details.