Sex-mad monkeys fed sugary snacks have taken control of a Thai town with residents living in fear.
An abandoned cinema in Lopburi is the headquarters of a gang of macaques who have become increasingly aggressive since lockdown began.
The monkeys used to receive a regular supply of bananas from holidaymakers but as the pandemic has brought the tourism industry to a standstill the macaques have been forced to look for other food sources.
They started fighting among themselves over the small amount of food remaining causing chaos and panic amongst the local population.
Residents of the ancient Thai city tried to calm the warring gangs of furious macaques by giving them sugary snacks, but it’s only made matters worse.
The sugary diet of fizzy drinks, cereal and sweets has made the monkeys hyperactive and sex mad, locals claim.
Pramot Ketampai, who manages the shrines at the Prang Sam Yod temple, explains: “The more they eat, the more energy they have… so they breed more.”
The monkey’s numbers are increasing out of control, he said.
“Their excrement is everywhere, the smell is unbearable especially when it rains,” said local Kuljira Taechawattanawanna.
Lopburi residents tolerated the little creatures before lockdown because they attracted tourists to the town – but now they’re seen as a menace.
One shopkeeper in the town has set up toy crocodiles to try to scare the monkeys off.
Ms Taechawattanawanna told reporters that she had to completely cover her terrace with wire netting to prevent monkey attacks.
She said: “We live in a cage but the monkeys live outside.”
Officers from the Thai wildlife department officers plan to sterilise at least 500 of the monkeys by the end of the week.
They plan to lure the animals into cages with fruit then knock them out with anaesthetic and sterilise them before tattooing the newly-neutered monkeys for identification purposes.
However, before that can happen the wildlife department intend to survey the locals to get their approval for the scheme.
Taweesak Srisaguan, a local shopkeeper, said that even though the monkeys are a pest, he would miss them if they were gone.
He said: “I’m used to seeing them walking around, playing on the street.
“If they’re all gone, I’d definitely be lonely.”