Bad monkeys in Thailand

This item appears on page 4 of the June 2013 issue.

In the Krabi province of southwestern Thailand, signs posted on popular beaches warning visitors of aggressive monkeys have had a positive effect. The signs were placed at Long Beach, Monkey Bay and Phi Phi Island, where bites and attacks have been fairly common. 

In 2012 more than 600 people were treated at Phi Phi Island Hospital for monkey attacks, and 75% of the cases were tourists. Since the posting of the signs, the incidents have decreased, with only 50 cases in the first three months of 2013.

Monkeys that are fed by tourists develop a habit of becoming hostile to people who do not offer food. Here are some tips regarding monkey encounters: avoid smiling (monkeys interpret the baring of teeth as aggression), do not offer food, hide all food and water from view, do not play tug of war, do not show fear, and carry a stick and wave it if necessary. 

A monkey bite requires a tetanus shot (at least) and can easily become infected without immediate cleansing and treatment.