Central Java deploys army and police to battle macaques

People in the District of Boyolali have lost their patience in the face of repeated raids by primates into their homes and farms. Among the 13 victims of macaque attacks there is also a primary school child. Officials deploy by more than 100 selected army and police shooters as well as members of the Indonesian Shooter Association (Perbakin). Animalists protest: "Monkeys need food. Teak or pine forests have become commercial forests."

Boyolali (AsiaNews / Agencies) – On Java a battle has begun to stop monkeys who have terrorized some inhabited towns, stealing food and even attacking some helpless elderly and children. For this purpose, the Indonesian authorities have deployed police and armed soldiers.

In recent months, wild macaques have become increasingly bold in their interactions with humans in Boyolali District, north of the city of Solo (Central Java). Citizens have lost their patience in the face of repeated raids of primates on their homes and farms. Heru Sunarko, coordinator of the Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources in Central Java, reveals that among the 13 victims of macaque attacks there is even a child in fourth grade primary school.

Sukimin, head of Sendung's subdistrict, says: "The last victim was Mr. Parmo, 82, who was attacked last August and reported serious injuries. The man was looking with a stick to drive out a pack of monkeys that had approached his henhouse, but the animals flocked against him and ferociously attacked him. The old man received 42 stitches on his arms and chest."

"The animals arrived here two months ago - says Aries Andhi, head of local police - After firing at a specimen, they escaped. But now they're back. " Residents say that monkey attacks are repeated every dry season when the forests lack fruit, but this time monkeys seem to be more aggressive.

More than 100 selected army and police shooters, as well as members of the Indonesian Shooter Association (Perbakin), joined villagers and village officials in a monkey hunt that began last August 3, will last throughout the coming week. The operations will take place in at least five villages in the Sendang subdistrict, Karanggede.

Margaret, Karanggede Police Commissioner, says: "This operation is not intended to kill, not to exterminate monkeys, but to secure the farms and houses of the people," adding that blanks are being used against the animals.

Animal rights activists believe this will not solve the problem. The say the attacks are provoked by damage to the forests on the slopes of Mount Merapi, the primates natural environment. "The reason why monkeys are coming into houses or people's gardens is because they need food - Robithotul Huda's protest from International Animal Rescue Indonesia - their habitat, teak or pine forests, has changed into commercial forests".