Archive for the ‘Monkeys’ Category

Don’t monkey around with our monkeys

November 20, 2016

Having a feast: Coconuts and bananas not spared. Photos by Rukmal Rathnayake

A peaceful resolution of the conflict for living space with our closest relatives

As monkeys struggle for existence while causing havoc to the people with their monkey tricks, the need to co-exist with our closest animal kingdom relatives was emphasised at an international conference here.

The Toque Monkey, better known as the Rilawa, causes more trouble than the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey or Kalu wandura, according to studies.

The Fifth Asian Primate Symposium hosted by the Sri Jayewardenepura University was held at the Mount Lavinia Hotel with seven countries participating to discuss ecology, biodiversity, human-animal conflict and related issues of interest to Asian primatologists.

An analysis of around 500 monkey-related complaints received by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), from 2007 to 2015 was presented at the conference by Dr. Tharaka Prasad, the DWC’s chief veterinary surgeon. According to him, 54 percent of the complaints have been against Rilawas and 29 percent against Kalu Wandura. Both these species are endemic to Sri Lanka.

Colombo which records the highest human population density had the highest frequency of conflicts of 115. Sadly, most of these are against the Kalu Wandura which is closed to the risk level of the Critically Endangered Western Purple-faced langur. Its conflict with humans severely undermines its future survival. Sri Lanka’s western region, where these langurs mainly stay, has only a few forest patches and the remaining habitats are also being lost or degraded. There are only a few protected areas, under the control of the DWC in the Western region, adding to the challenge of conserving these highly arboreal langurs.

Dr. Prasad who frequently treats injured monkeys said: “Monkeys are social animals. So we get into really difficult situations as to what we should do for the injured animals after they recover.”

At present, such monkeys are released to a location closer to Colombo as there is no alternative. There is a plan to build a facility to keep such monkeys, he said.

Sri Lanka is home to two other primate species — the Grey Langur and Slender Loris. Slender Loris monkeys stay mainly on the trees and rarely make contacts with humans. Even where Grey Langurs or hanuman monkeys are concerned, the number of human-animal conflicts is negligible.

According to the analysis, about 70 percent of the complaints relate to crop damage. Several other primate scientists, both local and international, made presentations at the symposium. A strategy to conserve and coexist with Sri Lanka’s monkeys was also presented in a paper prepared by Dr. Rudy Rudran of the Smithsonian Institute. Dr. Rudran’s research team is conducting an islandwide survey to identify important issues relating to monkey troubles.

Local researchers Surendranie Cabral, Sanjaya Weerakody and Rukmal Ratnayake say the utcome of this research may help to identify factors and reduce conflicts or tension between humans and monkeys.

Instead of viewing this situation in the grim terms of monetary losses due to the conflict, it should be seen as a challenge to the science of conservation biology, where coexistence of humans and monkeys is the key to conflict resolution, the symposium agreed.

Sri Lankans star in Hollywood epic

August 30, 2015
Where humans failed, our rilawas succeeded


Although human Sri Lankans have failed to take leading roles in Hollywood a film composed entirely of Sri Lankans has now entered the history books and the actors are our closest cousins, our own rilawas, the endemic toque macaques (Macaca sinica).
The epic story of a monkey troop living in Polonnaruwa, captured in the Disney film Monkey Kingdom, was released in Sri Lanka on August 21.

Description: Dr. Jane Goodall, Disneynature Ambassador and .Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute with Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, Scientific Consultant, in the Monkey Kingdom.  Wolfgang has been studying the macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka for nearly 50 years. His and Jane Goodall's study at Gombe are the longest running studies of wild primates. For the film, Wolfgang helped select the monkey characters and decipher their behaviour. His decades of research were invaluable to the making of Monkey Kingdom

Description: Dr. Jane Goodall, Disneynature Ambassador and .Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute with Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, Scientific Consultant, in the Monkey Kingdom. Wolfgang has been studying the macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka for nearly 50 years. His and Jane Goodall’s study at Gombe are the longest running studies of wild primates. For the film, Wolfgang helped select the monkey characters and decipher their behaviour. His decades of research were invaluable to the making of Monkey Kingdom


Monkey Kingdom’s main characters are lead female Maya, a low-caste being, her newborn son Kip, the troop’s alpha male Raja, a trio of high-status females called The Sisterhood, and Kumar, a newcomer wishing entrance to the tribe. The struggle of mother Maya brings tears to viewers’ eyes.

The monkeys’ struggle for power is also well documented in the movie, adding some adventure, and viewers may spot some recent political parallels. The monkey clan inhabit Castle Rock. Raja controls the group with an iron fist. A new team using strategic tactics lure the rock’s inhabitants into the jungle and defeat Raja’s party. Raja himself loses the troops’ leadership to Kumar, who plays monkey politics wisely, building relationships with many monkeys. This will surely make flashes of comparison of recent political events in Sri Lanka although the film’s production began three years ago.

Monkey Kingdom is the sixth theatrical release for Disneynature and cost $16.4 million. Disney brought world-acclaimed nature filmmaker Mark Linfield to Sri Lanka to direct it. The film crew spent 1,000 days on location, the most time spent in the field for any Disneynature feature film, according to Linfield.

It was, however, resident primatologist Dr. Wolfgang Dittus’ research that made this movie possible. German-born Dr. Dittus has been studying macaques in Sri Lanka for nearly 50 years, the longest-running monkey study of all time.His research proved invaluable to the film crew. His knowledge of the monkeys in Polonnaruwa allowed the filmmakers to understand their social structure, day-to-day lives and individual personality traits. As a result, they could choose their “stars” wisely and approach filming in an informed way, telling the troops’ true story as it unfolded.

Furthermore, the fact that Dr. Dittus and his researchers have been studying the Polonnaruwa monkeys for almost five decades gave filmmakers access to the animals that would not have been possible with monkeys who were not familiar with humans.
“Our many decades of past research invested in these toque macaques paid dividends for the production,” Dr. Dittus said.
“Not only do we know these monkeys intimately but the monkeys were perfectly at ease and behaved normally when the film crew pointed a camera at them. They treat us as a normal part of their environment, like a deer or a tree.”

Dr. Jane Goodall, the world’s authority on chimpanzees, who also visited the Polonnaruwa site, says the mother-child relationship in primates always inspired her. “When Maya first has her little boy Kip, we see how difficult it is for her to care for him when, at any moment, the dominant females can just take him away and there’s nothing she can do about it,” she said.

The movie features breathtaking scenery captured with high-quality equipment. Taya Diaz, a nature documentary maker who helped make the BBC’s film, Temple Troop, also based on the Polonnaruwa monkeys points out that Sri Lanka an abundance of wildlife that can make to the big screen and our film-makers need to look for them.

“It is important to see nature through a scientific eye and make these kind of movies that can help to bring out the value of Sri Lanka’s nature,” Diaz said.

Monkey Kingdom has already been nominated for some awards.

Monkeys boost Lanka as a  nature destination
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman, Rohantha Athukorala hopes the worldwide release of Monkey Kingdom will be a massive boost to Sri Lanka’s visibility due to “screen-based” marketing, where tourism in a country featured in a popular movie increases due to movie enthusiasts visiting the original location.The tourism bureau used the launch of the film in the United States in April to promote Sri Lanka there, and did the same in China.Mr. Athukorala said the bureau was pursuing the possibility of setting up a “Monkey Kingdom” in the Disneyland Park in Shanghai.The next major release is in France, in November, and the bureau will launch a drive there promoting Sri Lanka as a nature destination.These events clearly indicate the importance of wildlife to Sri Lanka. Often seen as pests, the monkeys are helping to promote Sri Lanka. Environmentalists point out this alone should be a reason for protecting the remaining wildlife habitats of Sri Lanka, which could attract more tourists, bringing in much-needed foreign exchange.Monkeys invade houses, becoming a nuisance because of the fault of the humans themselves. Dr. Dittus warns people not to offer food to monkeys and not to even throw food out if monkeys are hanging around as food and water will attract them to homes, leading people to regard them as a threat or nuisance.

Description: Two monkeys catch some termites during the monsoon

Description: Two monkeys catch some termites during the monsoon

Description: Wolfgang Dittus, Scientific Consultant with Chameera Pathirathne, and Sunil Rathnayake, Scientific Assistants, observe some monkeys in the ruins. Wolfgang has been studying the macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka for nearly 50 years. His and Jane Goodall's study at Gombe are the longest running studies of wild primates. For the film, Wolfgang helped select the monkey characters and decipher their behaviour. His decades of research were invaluable to the making of Monkey Kingdom

Description: Wolfgang Dittus, Scientific Consultant with Chameera Pathirathne, and Sunil Rathnayake, Scientific Assistants, observe some monkeys in the ruins. Wolfgang has been studying the macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka for nearly 50 years. His and Jane Goodall’s study at Gombe are the longest running studies of wild primates. For the film, Wolfgang helped select the monkey characters and decipher their behaviour. His decades of research were invaluable to the making of Monkey Kingdom

Character: Kip

Character: Kip

Description: Oliver Goetzl, Field Producer, setting a remote camera in a sloth bear cave.

Description: Oliver Goetzl, Field Producer, setting a remote camera in a sloth bear cave.

Photo courtesy: DisneyNature. Published on SundayTimes on 30.08.2015

Only two more leaps before our Kalu Wandura disappears forever

January 5, 2013
Western Purple-leaf Monkey

Western Purple-leaf Monkey

The article “One leap more before our Kalu Wandura disappears forever” published in the SundayTimes on 30.12.2012 has been distorted at editing which is reported that the ‘The 2012 National Red List on Conservation Status of Species warns that it is “critically endangered”. But it should be corrected as “The endemic Kalu wandura or the purple-faced langur is listed as Endangered (2 more steps to Extinction) in the 2012 National Red List for Sri Lanka.

It is the subspecies (one of five) live in Western Province and hence termed as the western-purple faced langur is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ by IUCN (global List), and among the top 25 most threatened primates in the world. The rest of the article primarily highlighted the plight of Western-Purple Faced Langur.

The caption of the photo reported as “The late Banana, beloved of primatologist Dr. Jinie Dela. The picture was taken by a villager”. It should also be corrected as “The picture was taken by Dr.Dela”.

Herewith the unedited version is fully published.. Apologize for the mistakes which has been occurred beyond my control..!!

The National RedList 2012 on Conservation Status of Species launched last week recognized the heightened danger of Extinction some animals face. ‘Kalu Wandura’ or the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey is one such species that further degraded its conservation status to ‘Endangered’; only 2 steps behind the irreversible ‘Extinction’ in the IUCN threatened scale. This Monkey was once abundant in many areas and listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the previous Red List published in 2007 before making the jump to ‘Endangered’ in 2012.

The Purple-faced Leaf Monkey or Purple-faced Langur (Semnopithecus vetulus) is Endemic and also the largest among other 3 monkey species – Toque Monkey, Grey langur and Lorises – that live in Sri Lanka. The purple-faced langur can be observed in many areas; but a little known fact is that there are 5 subspecies of ‘kalu wandura’ present in different regions. ‘Subspecies’ is a biological classification below species level that separates races of animals based on subtle differences, and there are 5 such identified populations living in geographical isolation in different areas of Sri Lanka. The ‘race’ that finds its home range primarily is the Western Province is the Western Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (Semnopithecus vetulus nestor), and the situation is worse for them as they are ‘Critically Endangered’; just one step away from ‘extinction’.

A leading authority on the Purple-faced Langur – Dr.Jinie Dela says there are many threats to this group of monkeys. She has been studying the western race since 1985, and her work brought this primate to world attention when it was listed among “The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates” in 2004, urging the need of having conservation actions to save it. The latest update of this report compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS) keep the Sri Lankan Monkey in its place unchanged in World’s most threatened 25 primates.

Range of different subspecies of Purple-faced Leaf-langur“Habitat degradation and habitat loss is the main threat to this primate” points out Dr Dela, based on her research. The past few decades have seen changes in land use in the Western Province, particularly in areas of the Colombo and Kalutara districts that are ranged by the Western Purple-faced Langur. With the spread of urbanization, and high price of land, home gardens are becoming smaller with less food trees for monkeys and humans. Many rubber plantations have been cleared for housing, industry, roads and other ‘human’ infrastructure.  Large trees are being cut down, and the monkey-human conflict is escalating due to intense competition between man and monkey for the few fruit trees left in pocket-sized home gardens. Monkeys constantly damage tiled roofs when they cross them to breach gaps in arboreal paths, resulting in more conflict.

This study highlighted the fact that many small rubber small-holdings that were abundant in the Colombo and Kalutara districts decades ago are now gone. These plantations gave the monkeys a little breathing space, by providing them places for rest and long ground play sessions. But now these are gone or going and the individual territories of monkey groups are shrinking. “This also creates more conflicts among groups that result in death of many animals’ lamented Dr.Dela.

Dr Dela recalling her memories said that on early days of research in the mid ’80; the kalu wanduras thrived in home garden where humans were somewhat tolerant on them. But nowadays, the tolerance level of people in gardens where monkey groups are pocketed is dropping.

Dr Dela’s long term observations also show that the loss of tall trees means that these monkeys have to travel and feed at unusually low elevations, and even come down to the ground to cross between different parts of their home range. This makes them very vulnerable to predation by dogs and poachers. There also are innumerable instances where monkeys in urban areas have lost their limbs, or even died, from contact with power lines or have become victims of road kills while crossing roads. Eventually, as conducive habitats even in rural areas shrink or get fragmented, local extinctions will invariably follow.

Dr.Dela gives a fine example to illustrate the kind of threat these monkeys face reminding the sad

Banana - Dr.Jini's favourite monkey shot by a villager

Banana – Dr.Jini’s favourite monkey shot by a villager

end of her favorite monkey ‘Banana’. Banana was a young adult in his prime bravely leading one of the troops studied by Dr.Dela, but just 2 years since his ascent as leader, ‘Banana’ was shot by an irate householder for feeding on mango fruit in his garden. Without the lead male, his adult females were taken over by the ‘Thug Troop’; the young animals were tragically scattered, and his infant son, Dodi, died of tetanus from a bite of an invading adult male. “Today the fateful mango tree, too, is missing in the garden where Banana met his tragic end, and I can barely recognize the area through which I once followed his little family from dawn to dusk” says the saddened researcher highlighting the fact that threats   ‘Banana’s next generation face are more severe.

Snow whites that leap from tree to tree in the Sinharaja canopy

September 25, 2011

In his book The Natural History of Ceylon (1861), Sir Emerson Tennent says, “A white monkey, taken between Ambepussa and Kornegalle, where they are said to be numerous, was brought to me to Colombo. So striking was its whiteness that it might have been conjectured to be an albino, but for the circumstance that its eyes and face were black”.

Tennant also mentions that he has heard of White Monkeys from Ridi-galle Wihara in Seven Korles and in Tangalle. Robert Knox in “Seeing Ceylon’ written in 1681 too makes mention of them – “Milk-white both in body and face; but of this sort there is not plenty”.

Are they still there in Sinharaja and its environs?

This is the discovery that members of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle (WCSG) have reported during their recent research studies in the area. “Some of them have a completely white coat and it is like large snow balls falling from the sky when they leap from the canopy of large trees in Sinharaja,” said a researcher of the spectacular sightings of white monkeys in lesser explored areas of the rainforest a few months ago.

Albino or white monkeys are recorded intermittently, but researchers of the WCSG found 30 individuals who are either completely or partially white from 14 monkey troops they had studied in this area. All were recorded within an 18 km stretch in and around home gardens around Sinharaja.

These monkeys are a different colour morph to the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey known as ‘Kalu Wandura’ in Sinhala. Some are completely white while others have mixed coats. The babies of some of the white mothers are black while the reverse too has been observed in the wild. The discovery was made by the researchers of the WCSG while they were studying the Southern Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (Semnopithecus vetulus vetulus).

One troop had a white Alpha Male

President of WCSG Madura De Silva explained that this colour morph named the Galanthus colour morph is a snow-white colour variant of the same species. The researchers also say that the monkeys are not albinos as none had red eyes. All had black naked parts of the face and beige to ashy brown crown hair, observed these researchers.

Well known environmentalist Rohan Pethiyagoda, says this is due to a phenomena known as leucism. Leucism is a condition characterized by reduced pigmentation in animals that gives colour to their skin and fur. In the case of albinism, it is the reduction of a skin pigment melanin, but in this case a reduction in all types of skin pigments occur. “Clearly the leucistic gene has been spreading across several troops and may even be selected, if males prefer white females.

But these kind of white animals are unusual in the wild probably because a white animal is conspicuous and more likely to be preyed on, so it would be interesting to see how these monkeys do in the long term,” Pethiyagoda said.

There are four different subspecies of this primate in addition to the Southern Purple-faced Leaf Monkey namely Mountain purple-faced leaf langur (Semnopithecus vetulus monticola), Western purple -faced leaf langur (Semnopithecus vetulus nestomr), and Northern purple- faced leaf langur (Semnopithecus vetulus philbricki). They are found on different regions of Sri Lanka and the Southern subspecies distribution is from Kalu Ganga to Ranna as per mammalian expert W.Philips.

From 2007 the primate research team of the WCSG has been studying the distribution, feeding ecology and behaviour of Southern Purple-faced Leaf Langur. Twenty six troops from rain forests and home gardens around Galle and Matara Districts have been observed so far.

Researchers were first tipped off about the ‘ghost like’ white monkeys by the villagers who go into the forest to extract the kitul sap. Trusting the locals, they decided to follow their paths into the forest and after a few weeks came upon the white monkeys that live in the treetops, rarely descending to the ground.

In the National Museum primate specimen collection is a pale-coloured specimen found by W.Philips from Matara District showing that there was colour diversity among the Southern Purple-faced Leaf Langur even in the early 1900s.

“These historical accounts also have inspired us to keep our eyes open in finding white monkeys from southern Sri Lanka through our primate research,” said Madura. Their research is funded by Nations Trust Bank.

Published on SundayTimes on 18.09.2011 




A monkey with a black & white coat

Researches photographing white monkeys using heavy equipments

Team of researches looking at Sinharaja Canopy for white monkeys

A white female with an infant

Biting the hand that feeds

August 31, 2011
Increased ‘monkey-attacks’ highlight the problem of human-monkey relationships and the futility of translocation of ‘pest monkeys’, warn primatolagists – by Malaka Rodrigo
Hard on the heels of the yet unsolved ‘grease yaka’ attacks, are reports of increased attacks by monkeys from several parts of the country. The latest was at the Yala National Park when a French tourist was attacked by a monkey. The victim, Adrien Coulombel and his wife had stopped at a scenic spot near the river, where visitors are usually allowed to step out of their vehicles and have their meals if they wished to.Adrien and his wife had alighted from their safari jeep to have some sandwiches when the attack occurred. He said there were some monkeys on the surrounding trees and they had walked away about 10 metres along with a couple of American tourists to observe a squirrel. When they walked back to their spot they saw a monkey eating their food. Amused at the scene that greeted them Adrien had clicked some photographs of the Toque Macaque in his act of daylight robbery. Alerted by human presence the monkey had scampered away pursued by Adrien who wanted to get a closeup picture.

Daylight robbery: Adrien’s picture of the curious monkey checking out their food and drinks

“I didn’t realize the danger and I shot the last picture on my knees – about 5 metres away from primate. I got frightened when I saw it baring its teeth and I stood up to beat a hasty retreat. It was then that I felt the razor like cut of a knife at the back of my left leg,” Adrian said recalling the incident The monkey had sunk its teeth just above Adrian’s ankle and the wound was so deep that it was bleeding profusely. Adrien was admitted to Hambanthota General Hospital. His wound was attended to under local anaesthesia and he remained in hospital for three days. The couple cut short their holiday and flew back home. Unconfirmed reports said another tourist was attacked at the spot a week later.

Meanwhile primatologists blame the visitors to Yala and other sanctuaries for the aggressiveness of the monkeys. “This has been a location where Yala visitors are allowed to alight from their vehicles and have their meals leisurely. However, some visitors don’t clean up the remnants and some of them even feed the monkeys,” Dr.Woolfgang Dittus, well known for his study of toque monkeys in Sri Lanka said. The harmonious human-monkey relationship changes dramatically the moment humans start feeding monkeys. Monkeys can and do become aggressive towards people who feed them, he said.

He said many tour guides and vendors encourage tourists to feed monkeys to lure them closer for a good photo opportunity. The monkeys get the food, the tour guide gets the tip from the tourists for helping to get a photo, and the vendor gets the profit from selling his snacks. The tourist (or whoever feeds) takes the risk of being bitten, and the monkeys become pests and face the risk of being killed by people living in the vicinity, warned the expert.

Yala sources said that sometime back “pest monkeys” from the Hambanthota area have also been released into the Yala National Park. Dr.Dittus said the French tourist may have fallen victim to one of those “town monkeys” that had been translocated to the park

Translocation not a solution

Monkeys that raid properties and crops in towns or villages are lablled as pest monkeys. To curb this problem some have even resorted to killing these ‘pests’.. The most recent solution sanctioned by wildlife authorities is the capture and relocation of monkeys usually into a National Park in another area. Funds have been allocated to Divisional Secretaries to carryout relocation programmes.

Commenting on the problem of pest monkeys Dr.Dittus said, relocation was not an effective solution to the problem in the long run. He said it did not address the main causes of monkey overpopulation which were surplus of human food in the environment or monkeys invading villages due to fragmentation of their habitats. He said the void left by translocated or killed monkeys would soon be filled by monkeys from surrounding areas. Therefore translocation only provided temporary relief, he said.

The deep wound on Adrien’s leg

He said translocating pest monkeys to a National Park or Sanctuary was futile because the useful habitat for monkeys in these natural areas are already filled to capacity with resident primates. These residents who live as troops will aggressively evict the newcomers from their territory.

In addition, pest monkeys are used to their ways, and they will not attempt to find food in the parks but raid villages at the periphery of the parks. Pest monkeys from the Badulla areas, for example, have been released into the Madura Oya Natioanl Park where these monkeys have become a nuisance to the local villagers.

There is also a scientific basis against releasing pest monkeys in a haphazard way. Sri Lanka has the highest diversity of primates in Asia, with five species and 12 or more subspecies. Three of these species occur only in Sri Lanka (endemic): the Toque Macaque (3 subspecies), Purple-Faced Langur (4-5 subspecies) and one of the two Loris species. Excepting the loris, all species could come into conflict with man, but the clever toque macaque is the easiest to tame and hence becomes a pest. The random translocation of monkeys is detrimental to the preservation of the genetic diversity because it undermines locality-specific evolutionary adaptations, say experts.

Wildlife Conservation Department (DWC) Director General, H.D.Ratnayake acknowledges that translocation is not the best solution. Monkeys are not a protected species by law, considering their potential to become a pest. “But we cannot kill the monkeys, therefore we opt for translocations. Mr.Ratnayake however assured that the monkeys are released deep in the jungles, so as to minimise penetration into nearby villages.

He urged the public not to feed the monkeys as they were unwittingly creating a problem. Countries like Malaysia and Singapore impose fines on those who feed monkeys at sanctuaries. In Singapore, the fine can be as much a $50,000 and six a month jail term.

Published on SundayTimes on 28.08.2011

Solution eludes monkey menace at Dambulla

December 31, 2010

Some of the members of the Monkey clang inhabit in Dambulla Cave Temple have become more than a nuisance to the visitors. Loosing fear to the humans, some Monkeys come all they way down to steps and approach the visitors until they give away food on their hand. Sometimes they boldly rob the food directly from visitors’ hand scare the visitors by snaring. Several visitors are already been attacked when they struggle to keep their belongings.  

The visitors to reach ancient rock caves have to climb over 1km by foot where they become vulnerable to this Monkey menace. There are several vendors selling food items like pineapple, mango, peanuts etc to visitors on the way and those who carry this food on hand are fallen easy victims. But sadly, there are no warning boards either to alert the unwary visitors about the mischievous monkeys.

Experts point out the whole problem starts due to the visitors’ behavior of feeding the monkeys. “No food with visitor’s means, no monkeys harassing them” said Dr.Wolfgang Dittus who has done decades long research on Toque Macaques of Sri Lanka that is also the same species making trouble in Dambulla. Dr.Dittus points out that until visitors feed the animals and bring the food, this conflict will continue. He suggested banning vendors at site from selling food to visitors and ban visitors from carrying food. But due to the pressures authorities have to allow the livelihood of the food vendors and our cultural background where visitors like to feed the animals, this conflict will get worsened, Dr.Dittus complained.

An electric wire has been setup at the top of the wire mesh to avoid monkeys intruding the ancient caves at the Peak of Dambulla Mountains. This has gained some success avoiding monkeys, but visitors are feeding the monkeys through the wire mesh. So it is required to educate the both the visitors and vendors to find a solution to this Human Monkey Conflict. 

Published on SundayTimes on 26.12.2010