NusaBali reports that the management and surrounding community at the Sangeh Monkey Forest in the Bandung Regency of Bali are worried about their continuing ability to feed the hundreds of monkeys who make their home at the popular tourist stop.
The head of the Sangeh Monkey Forest management team, I Made Sumohon, told the press on Friday, 12 March 2021: “We are still able to feed the monkeys. At most, we can pay the expense for one year. This also includes operational costs. The problem is that the number of visitors has dropped dramatically. If this epidemic continues into the coming years, this will become a problem. We are worried about the cost.”
Sumohon said that the Sangeh Monkey Forest must be protected and preserved. One of the main goals, he said, is to make sure there is enough food for the monkeys and avoid a situation in which hungry primates start to attack tourist visitors. Another fear is that a lack of food will cause fights and competition among the monkeys and see the animals ransacking the surrounding villagers’ homes.
Sumohon hopes that local citizens and businesses will find it in the hearts to donate fruit products to feed the monkeys.
The Sangeh Monkey Forest budgets Rp. 15 million each month to feed its population of more than 600 monkeys. Cash reserves accumulated during the past when visitor numbers were high are now dwindling as they are used to pay for the monkeys’ food.
In pre-pandemic times, the Sangeh Monkey Forest averaged between 12 and 15 thousand daily visitors. After the onset of the pandemic, the number of visitors has sunk to between 1,000 and 5,000 in an entire month. Most recently, during February 2021, less than 1,000 visitors came to the Forest.
In addition to limited funds with which to purchase food, the management of the tourist attraction is also running short of cash to pay employee salaries. Employees are now working at reduces wages on a rotational basis.