Monkeys cause chaos during social distancing orders on Cham Islands

Experts from the Cham Island Maritime Protected Area (MPA) and Hoi An are looking to drive monkeys back to the forest after the animals broke into houses.

Monkeys cause chaos during social distancing orders on Cham Islands
Two monkeys on notice on Cham Islands, off the coast of Hoi An. Groups of monkeys have been found seeking food in houses and gardens of families living near the forest. — Photo courtesy of Huynh Thi Thuy Huong 

The macaques were searching for food along Bai Lang and Bai Xep beaches on the Islands.

Authorities said dozens of monkeys left the forest and entered homes in the area.

The animals were found getting closer to living areas in the last three years, with more visits since social distancing measures were implemented from late April.

Chairwoman of the islands’ people’s committee, Pham Thi My Huong, said the monkeys didn't seem to be scared off by people.

She said monkeys broke into houses to get rice and food in the kitchen and fruit from the gardens.

She said residents reported that some monkeys even took a rice cooker.

Huong said islanders were warned not to harm the monkeys as the Cham Islands are part of a protected biosphere site.

Residents were told to lock doors, gates and gardens, as well as install fences and shutters on windows.

Huynh Thi Thuy Huong from the Cham Island Maritime Protected Area (MPA) said the incidents result from the rapid growth of the monkey population and limited food supply in recent years.

She said monkeys have become familiar with food given by tourists visiting the islands, and now they climb down the mountain in search of sustenance from travellers and residents.

Huong said MPA and the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research GreenViet have been working to protect endangered flora and fauna on the islands as well as primates.     

 

Director of GreenViet, Tran Huu Vy, said the group has been tracking the habitat and population of the monkeys and food chains in forests on Cham Islands to limit risks of conflict with humans.

He said social distancing orders due to COVID-19 delayed field surveys and trips among conservationists.

Monkeys cause chaos during social distancing orders on Cham Islands
Waters off Cham Islands are safe for boats docking during holidays. The islands' tourism has been damaged by COVID-19 over the past two years. — VNS Photo Cong Thanh 

Some residents attempted to drive the animals away by banging on metal pots, but they are warned to keep a distance so as to avoid being bitten or attacked, Huong said.

Islanders were warned not to feed monkeys fruit, snacks or bread.

She said Bai Xep Beach – at the foot of the mountain and nearest to forest – saw a gathering of 15 monkeys.

According to the latest report by GreenViet, at least eight groups of Rhesus macaques with nearly 90 individuals have been found living in the forests on the hills of the islands.

Cham Islands-Hoi An (including the total area of the Islands’ land and water and Hoi An), which was recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve in 2009, 20km off the coast of Hoi An, covers more than 33,000ha, including 1,500ha of tropical forests and 6,700ha of sea, featuring a wide range of marine fauna and flora.

The islands and buffer zones hosted around 1.5 million tourists per year, but the COVID-19 pandemic damaged the prosperous tourism growth on the islands and Hoi An in 2020-21.

However, experts from the MPA said reduced tourism activities and waste around the Cham Islands – a world biodiversity reserve site – would help the marine ecosystem in waters off the islands recover following an ecological system and coral reefs programme in 2020-21.

Source: Vietnam News

Coral population remains well protected off Cham Island

Coral population remains well protected off Cham Island

Coral reefs off Cham Island have been well conserved with an average coverage of 59.16 per cent at seven sites following an annual reef check and coral clean-up programme.

 
 

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