Ape Uprising: Macaques storm villages in Central Java

Hundreds of hungry long-tailed macaques have stormed villages in Banyumas regency in Central Java province in search of food as a long drought has led to a food shortage in their habitat, reports said.

The monkeys, known by its Latin name Macaca fascicularis, barged into houses, climbed roofs and harassed tourists, sparking anxiety among residents.

Locals said the invasion was prompted by a scarcity of food for the primates in surrounding forests as a result of the dry season.

“They barged into my house, looking for food,” 68-year old Sopani, a resident in the Cikakak village, was quoting as saying by the Kompas daily.

Villagers said the monkey invasion is an annual occurrence, but this year they seem to have come in large numbers and they are “wilder”.

The macaques have also targeted coconut plantations, drinking the sap of flower buds before farmers get the chance to turn it into palm sugar, the main commodity from Banyumas.

Residents have tried to chase away the animals using slingshots and firecrackers.

The long drought in the Banyumas regency of central Java province has caused springs in the areas to dry, causing residents to walk long distances to get water.

Officials from Kebumen village said that they have tried to provide food such as nuts and beets for the monkeys but this had not prevented the monkeys from attacking houses.

“We have tried to plant more trees to provide food for them, but even before those trees have grown, the monkeys have attacked them,” Tjutjun Sunarti, an official for the local agriculture and plantation agency, was quoted as saying.

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