Photos: Monkeys run riot in Thai city; keep humans indoors

Residents remain barricaded indoors, rival gangs fight and there are no-go zones for humans. In Thailand's Lopburi, residents bemoan a monkey menace raging across the heart of this 13th-century city in the central Thai province of the same name. As monkeys run riot super-charged on junk food, their population is increasing and city authorities have turned to sterilisation in desperation aginst what was once seen as a major lure for tourists.

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST 9 Photos
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A longtail macaque on top of a monkey statue in front of the Prang Sam Yod Buddhist temple in the town of Lopburi, Thailand on June 20. These fearless primates rule the streets around the Prang Sam Yod temple in the centre of the town, patrolling the tops of walls and brazenly ripping the rubber seals from car doors. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

A longtail macaque on top of a monkey statue in front of the Prang Sam Yod Buddhist temple in the town of Lopburi, Thailand on June 20. These fearless primates rule the streets around the Prang Sam Yod temple in the centre of the town, patrolling the tops of walls and brazenly ripping the rubber seals from car doors. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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Tourists interact with longtail macaques in the Prang Sam Yod Buddhist temple on June 20. Their antics had largely been tolerated as a major lure for tourists who descended on the city before the coronavirus outbreak to feed and snap selfies with the plucky animals. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

Tourists interact with longtail macaques in the Prang Sam Yod Buddhist temple on June 20. Their antics had largely been tolerated as a major lure for tourists who descended on the city before the coronavirus outbreak to feed and snap selfies with the plucky animals. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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Longtail macaques chase a woman on a scooter in Lopburi on June 20. As foreign tourism -- Thailand’s cash cow -- seized up so did the flow of free bananas tossed their way, prodding the macaques to turn to violence. Footage of hundreds of them brawling over food in the streets went viral on social media in March, AFP noted in a report. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

Longtail macaques chase a woman on a scooter in Lopburi on June 20. As foreign tourism -- Thailand’s cash cow -- seized up so did the flow of free bananas tossed their way, prodding the macaques to turn to violence. Footage of hundreds of them brawling over food in the streets went viral on social media in March, AFP noted in a report. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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A worker cleans a roundabout, one of the main gathering points of the longtail macaques in Lopburi on June 20. Some areas of the city have simply been surrendered to the monkeys. An abandoned cinema is the macaques’ headquarters -- and cemetery. Dead monkeys are laid to rest by their peers in the projection room in the cinema’s rear and any human who enters is attacked. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

A worker cleans a roundabout, one of the main gathering points of the longtail macaques in Lopburi on June 20. Some areas of the city have simply been surrendered to the monkeys. An abandoned cinema is the macaques’ headquarters -- and cemetery. Dead monkeys are laid to rest by their peers in the projection room in the cinema’s rear and any human who enters is attacked. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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A longtail macaque tears down a poster reading “Don't feed the monkeys” in Lopburi on June 21. No one seems to remember a time without the monkeys, with some speculating that the urban creep into nearby forests displaced the simians into the city. Residents have taken it upon themselves to feed the macaques to prevent clashes. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

A longtail macaque tears down a poster reading “Don't feed the monkeys” in Lopburi on June 21. No one seems to remember a time without the monkeys, with some speculating that the urban creep into nearby forests displaced the simians into the city. Residents have taken it upon themselves to feed the macaques to prevent clashes. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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Locals say the primates’ sugary diet of fizzy drinks, cereal and sweets has had unforeseen consequences. “The more they eat, the more energy they have... so they breed more,” Pramot Ketampai, who manages the Prang Sam Yod temple’s surrounding shrines told AFP. The macaque population has doubled in three years to 6,000 strong. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

Locals say the primates’ sugary diet of fizzy drinks, cereal and sweets has had unforeseen consequences. “The more they eat, the more energy they have... so they breed more,” Pramot Ketampai, who manages the Prang Sam Yod temple’s surrounding shrines told AFP. The macaque population has doubled in three years to 6,000 strong. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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The macaques’ mob fights have drawn the attention of authorities, who restarted a sterilisation programme this month after a three-year pause. Wildlife department officers lure the animals into cages with fruit and take them to a clinic where they are anaesthetised, sterilised and left with a tattoo to mark their neutering. (Jorge Silva / Reuters)

The macaques’ mob fights have drawn the attention of authorities, who restarted a sterilisation programme this month after a three-year pause. Wildlife department officers lure the animals into cages with fruit and take them to a clinic where they are anaesthetised, sterilised and left with a tattoo to mark their neutering. (Jorge Silva / Reuters)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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People ride past macaques perched on top of a wall in Lopburi. The sterilisation campaign may not be enough to quell their numbers and the department has a long-term plan to build a sanctuary in the city. That plan will likely face resistance from human residents. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

People ride past macaques perched on top of a wall in Lopburi. The sterilisation campaign may not be enough to quell their numbers and the department has a long-term plan to build a sanctuary in the city. That plan will likely face resistance from human residents. (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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A longtail macaque eats in a shop in Lopburi on June 20. Taweesak Srisaguan, a local shop owner who uses stuffed animals as a deterrent to the unwanted visitors, told AFP that despite his daily joust with the monkeys, he will miss them if they are moved. “I’m used to seeing them walking around, playing on the street,” he said. “I’d definitely be lonely.” (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

A longtail macaque eats in a shop in Lopburi on June 20. Taweesak Srisaguan, a local shop owner who uses stuffed animals as a deterrent to the unwanted visitors, told AFP that despite his daily joust with the monkeys, he will miss them if they are moved. “I’m used to seeing them walking around, playing on the street,” he said. “I’d definitely be lonely.” (Mladen Antonov / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 25, 2020 10:41 AM IST
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