Monkeys at park given contraceptives
Updated: 2013-08-20 23:38
By Fan Feifei (China Daily)
Monkeys at Lushan Mountain in Jiangxi province, one of the China's top scenic spots, have been put on contraceptives to curtail their breeding.
Specialists warn that this cannot control the number of monkeys as tourists are making the monkeys lazy by feeding them. With their food supply guaranteed, monkeys do not need to forage for food and have more time for breeding.
A park official said 50 monkeys were introduced to the scenic spot at the end of 2005, according to a China News Service report on Saturday. That number has more than doubled.
A staff member of the management office of
Shimenjian scenic area on Lushan Mountain told China Daily that they have been feeding contraceptive pills to the primates for four or five years.
The monkeys are at three key locations on Lushan Mountain: Xianrendong, Datianchi and Sanbaoshu.
While the monkeys are a major attraction, they can be a nuisance and sometimes attack visitors. "These monkeys are wild and can scratch, attack and injure tourists," the staff member said.
Because they do not fear humans, they often try to grab snacks tourists might be eating or, worse, tourists will throw food at them.
Warning signs have been posted around the mountain alerting tourists. However, tourists routinely ignore the signs and continue to give monkeys food. This emboldens the monkeys and makes them more confident.
The pills are given to the monkeys in March and September each year, their mating season.
Sun Quanhui, an adviser to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, said this is "understandable and acceptable".
Hua Ning, a campaign manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said that contraceptive pills were not the only answer.
A fixed "meeting point" where humans can observe the monkeys safely should be set up, reducing any contact that allows food to be taken or given.
The news also triggered discussions on the Internet. A netizen named "Shida" commented on Sina Weibo that there are also other ways to control the number of the monkeys, such as introducing natural enemies and reducing the number of tourists. Another netizen whose username is "Maltose" deemed it is the human beings' behavior that interrupts the monkeys.