Man at His Best

Monkeys Have Overtaken A Chinese Village

Xianfeng village overrun with macaques after tourism plan goes awry.

BY Jason S Ganesan | Jun 16, 2016 | Culture

Thomas Schoch/ Wikipedia

It all starts with good intentions.

In 2003, a tourism plan was introduced to boost the economy of the Xianfeng village in Sichuan. Drawing inspiration from nearby Mount Emei, which houses a large population of macaques (or a population of large macaques), the village decided to get in on the monkey action to attract tourists.

So villagers hiked up the mountain and brought back 73 macaques. The plan worked initially, with tourists flocking to the village to play with the monkeys, and a bunch of investors funded a proper reserve for the monkeys.

Then in 2014, main investor Zhou Zhenggu died, and the reserve had to be shut down due to a lack of funds. Nobody volunteered at the time to bring the monkeys back up the mountain, so in the village they remained. And bred.

Xianfeng is now overrun with 600 monkeys who refuse to go away. They destroy crops, invade homes, and generally behave like bored teenagers, minus the illegal racing and recreational drug use. While some of these monkeys have been captured and released into the wild, most are hell-bent on staying behind, because it is the only home they have ever known.

Villagers have apparently been told to find a way to coexist with the macaques until they up and leave by themselves. Thing is, they might not, as the inhabitants of New Delhi will testify to—the city has experimented with vasectomies, birth control pills, larger monkeys and even monkey wallahs to chase the Rhesus macaques out of Dodge, with negligible results.  

Which all sounds amusing, until you realise that back in 2007, monkeys actually killed the deputy mayor of the capital of India. Wars have been started for less.