Two groups furiously battled over territory and over a much prized possession.
However, these weren’t groups of people fighting -- they were gangs of monkeys!
In Lopburi, Thailand, thousands of macaque monkeys coexist in two groups: the city monkeys and the temple monkeys. The city monkeys live throughout the plaza while the temple monkeys settle near the Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple. Typically, the gangs stay within their own territories, divided by train tracks.
However, the temple monkeys entered the opposing territory in desperate need of food. A fight ensued over a single cup of yogurt! The local city monkeys prevailed, eventually forcing the temple monkeys to retreat.
What caused this rare scene?
Normally, monkeys in Thailand depend on food left behind by tourists. Travelers and city residents leave food for temple monkeys as a tradition. The city even holds a Monkey Buffet Festival annually where people create fruit and vegetable towers for them.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus has forced countries like Thailand to cut off travel with China. Tourism, a major part of Thailand’s economy, has declined because the country really depends on Chinese tourists. In fact, the amount of tourists is expected to drop from 39.8 million tourists in 2019 to only 30 million visitors this year.
The sudden decline in tourism has left monkeys desperate and hungry, especially temple monkeys who are used to seeing food in plain sight for them at the temple.
This wild event shows us how human activity impacts nature and urbanized animals.
Sources: LiveScience, Guardian, ZMEScience, Globalnews.ca