Escalating macaque problem a concern for residents in Khao Takiab

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Residents of Soi 3 in Khao Takiab are grappling with a growing problem as groups of macaques become a daily nuisance, causing damage to property, stealing food, and even engaging in fights.

One resident, who spoke to Hua Hin Today on the condition of anonymity, described how the situation has worsened over the past year.

“Three years ago, we would occasionally see a monkey, but now there are many more,” they said.

The escalation has led to increased fear and inconvenience among the community. A number of people have left the area, having already chosen not to renew their rental contracts, while other residents are considering moving out.

The macaques, which descend from Khao Takiab mountain and swim across the water next to the pier, have been causing significant damage. Roof tiles and vehicles have been targeted, and there are frequent reports of food theft.

The resident we spoke to recounted a recent incident where a macaque stole a loaf of bread from their hand as they got out of their car. Another time, a macaque entered their home through an open window, while in a separate incident food was taken from an outdoor freezer.

The aggressive behavior of the macaques has added to the residents’ distress. Fights between different groups of the animals have left bloodstains on balconies, highlighting the severity of the problem. “At the moment, the macaques are an inconvenience but there are concerns regarding safety too,” the resident noted.

The issue has also disrupted local services. People living in the neighborhood can’t order takeaway food deliveries, the resident explained. Drivers, such as those from Grab, often fall victim to the macaques, who steal deliveries before they reach the residents.

Hua Hin Today visited Soi 3 and observed the macaques’ behaviour firsthand. Macaques were seen jumping into the back of a black pickup truck, stealing a bag while it was being driven along the road. Additionally, macaques were spotted climbing balconies and rifling through the storage compartment of a parked motorbike.

Residents of Soi 3 are calling for help from the local authorities to address the escalating macaque menace before the situation deteriorates further.

Addressing the macaque situation in Hua Hin

Macaques, classified as protected wildlife under the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2562 (2019), have significantly affected Hua Hin.

Khao Takiab, dubbed ‘monkey mountain’ by locals, as well as Hin Lek Fai, are two locations in Hua Hin known for the population of macaques.

Hua Hin district is said to be home to as many as 5,000 macaque monkeys, according to the last official survey. Since 2019, the Hua Hin Municipality said it has financially supported the sterilization of 3,300 macaques.

Despite this, solving the issues caused by the macaques and reducing macaque and human conflicts remain a challenge for the local authorities.

In January this year, a significant initiative was drawn up which should help to improve the situation in the long term. As part of this initiative, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and Hua Hin Municipality.

The agreement aims to mitigate the impact of macaques on the local community and includes systematic and scientific sterilization, establishing monkey shelters for behavioral adjustment, and relocating sterilized monkeys to these shelters.

In addition, regulations are being amended to empower local authorities to act under the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, enabling operational flexibility and local involvement in addressing the macaque problem.