A Pile of Monkeys and Some Coconuts (PHOTOS)
I am sitting on the ground watching a troop of monkeys devour a pile of coconuts and pineapples by the side of the road. These are crab-eating macaques, one of two species of primate found in the mangrove forests of Khao Sam Roi Yot.
The other species is the dusky langur, or spectacled monkey, and they are a truly a spectacle to behold. Where macaques are all bravado and action, the langurs exude an air of calm sweetness, except when leaping and bouncing from tree to tree. Then, they are pure grace.
Jo and I have long wanted to see wild monkeys, and now we are positively swimming in them.
There’s a little bit of a feeling like cheating. The monkeys, though wild, are habituated. My guess is that the park leaves discarded fruit out for the macaques to gorge on.
These piles are not enough it seems. Several of them, including at least three babies and one large male, rigorously shake and tug at the tops of the garbage bins next to the visitor’s center. The lids are zip-tied to the bins, but the macaques can crawl through the swinging doors on top. The largest male does this repeatedly, one leg stretching out of the opening, toes spread wide for balance. He doesn’t look as cool as he thinks he does.
Eventually the macaques race along a monkey mangrove highway underneath the dusky langurs, and make their way to the fruit pile across the street.
The duskies relax in the treetops, enjoying a more langurish setting and munching on leaves. A little golden baby bounces around in the branches. Dusky langurs are black and white as adults, but a baby’s fur shines all day with that golden hour of light photographers so crave.
Jo and I head across the street to the pile of fruit that has now become a pile of monkeys. Trucks laden with shrimp farming supplies whiz by honking their horns to scatter the lot.
Macaques have a tempestuous relationship with shrimp farms and fishing cats. Show one a paper mache version of a fishing cat, Ruj says, and crab-eating macaques will lose their shit. Well those weren’t his exact words, but it’s close, and Ruj counts paper mache fishing cats as one of his many talents.
As I sit watching the macaques, which displays no shortage of feasting and monkey sex (monkeys seem to really like having sex), I hear a chewing sound nearby. One macaque has broken from the rest and is now slurping noisily on a pineapple 6 feet to my left. He looks at me as if to say, “Yeah, we’re chillin.”
And because I don’t know if I should stay or I should go, I just say, “OK.”