Pests > Pest Management > Cultural control > Longtailed macaque management, Palau

Pests > Pest Management > Cultural control > Longtailed macaque management, Palau

Pests Pest Management Cultural control Longtailed macaque management, Palau


January 2004. Palau wanted to know how to control Longtailed macaque monkeys (Macacca fascicularis) besides shooting or poisoning them.

In some parts of India they use much larger, more agressive monkeys, to keep macaques from bothering people. A response from the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, provided several ideas:

On Anguar, there are three times as many monkeys as people. One approach would be to use a dart gun to tranquillise the monkeys, and then they can be euthenased. Another approach would be to trap them, using the methods of Papua New Guinea – they have clearly been trying to come to grips with a similar problem A trap from Southeast Asian uses a hollow gourd with a single opening just large enough for the monkey’s hand to grasp the tempting bait of fruit. Finding the bait, the monkey also finds that it cannot remove both its hand and the fruit. The trap works because the monkey refuses to let go of the fruit even as disaster approaches. Another version of the same thing from India: It’s been said that you can trap a monkey by placing a shiny trinket in a jar tied to a tree. The jar opening must be large enough for the monkey to put his hand in, but small enough that he can’t remove it after closing his fist around the bait. And a third version, a coconut is hollowed out and attached by a rope to a tree or stake in the ground. At the bottom of the coconut a small slit is made and some sweet food is placed inside. The hole on the bottom of the coconut is just big enough for the monkey to slide in his open hand, but not large enough for a fist to withdraw. The monkey smells the sweets, reaches in with his hand to grasp the food and is then trapped by its own doing. All that it has to do is to open the hand. But so strong is the force of attraction to the food or trinklet that it is a rare monkey that can let go.

There is also a need to desex all the pet monkeys illegally held on other islands, especially Koror and Babeldaob. A system of permits could be given to retain desexed animals for the term of their natural life – the threat could be that after a certain time all monkeys not declared and desexed would be subject to seizure and euthanasia. Hopefully, this would eventually lead to the natural decline of the pet monkey problem, which is probably leading to monkeys escaping into the wild and establishing new populations on Babeldoab. It would be very unfortunate ecologically if they established on the larger island, as well as being a major pest for farmers.

One member, somewhat tongue in cheek, sent this contribution: The story is told in Africa of a farmer having a serious problem with baboons raiding his maize fields. He caught one, painted it white, and let it go. It bounded off in the direction of the rest of the pack, who when they saw this white monster bounding towards them, bolted in panic with the white one in hot pursuit and the farmer never saw any of them again….