Monkey Trouble

It was a long holiday. I was supposed to go up north and visit my beloved Pai but was advised not to by my colleagues because of the continuous rain recently. It wasn’t safe to travel to the mountains during this time so I ended up going with them on a road trip down south. The itinerary was just to follow the road to Pattaya City and stop if we saw anything interesting along the way which I admit, was a better plan, than the one that was talked about for many days that only led to minor irritating scuffles in the office.

DSC_0001 with Pam, ramming the bags at the back of the car

At exactly 8:00am, we were at the rendezvous point and was set to drive towards the motor way where we met up with the others.

Everything was good until we decided to make a quick stop at Khao Sam Muk Hill in Bangsaen, Chonburi where the place, they said, was littered with monkeys. When we saw that it truly was, we could hardly subdue our excitement. We were quick to step off the car once Four found the perfect place to park. The monkeys were not too shy and were quite tamed at first glance which explained why  we took the risk to feed them at close range.

monkeyThis changed after a few minutes.

When I saw one male monkey (which I was feeding just a few minutes before) slap and claw our department supervisor, Kru Tum, I thought it was funny. In fact, I was suppressing my giggles which explained why I was not able to immediately take a photo of her with him because I couldn’t keep my camera steady. (I know it was awful of me to laugh but I couldn’t help it.) Although Kru Tum was scared at that point, she still did not move away from the monkey because she really wanted to have her photo taken with him. This obviously pissed the monkey off because he decided to teach our boss a lesson by biting her lower back. That did the trick because by then Kru Tum quickly stood up and walked over to where I was standing (and was still laughing my ass off). She approached me and said, “Jep, teacher, jep…ching ching.” (Translation: It hurts, teacher, it hurts…truly.) Of course when she said this, I felt guilty. We then checked her back and saw the monkey’s teeth marks.  After that, she quickly went back inside her car while I, on the other hand, started scolding the monkey like as if it was one of my kindergarten students.

culpritthe culprit!

We ended up going to the hospital there after and spent a good two hours waiting for Kru Tum to finish getting her vaccination and check-up. She coughed up THB 12,000 and boy was I thankful that it wasn’t me who was bitten. I swear I would have hunted that monkey down!

While it may be impossible to determine whether the act was malicious or simply an animal’s instinct to secure his source of nutriment, this unfortunate incident was a strong reminder of nature’s potential ferocity and our need to always calculate on the side of caution when dealing with wild creatures.

monkey bite The brave Kru Tum!!!!!

As soon as I got home, I decided to check the internet for official tallies of monkey attacks in the area but found none. These types of encounters didn’t come as a surprise though. Despite our efforts to rout nature, we are still yet to be masters of the wild kingdom. As a result, animal attacks—like bites, and in worst cases, mauls, mangles, swarms—have steadily magnified as our desire to get in touch with nature reaches new heights, even reaching the point of creating an entire travel industry touting intense up-close encounters with untamed and dangerous creatures.

I remember shows on TV about people’s endless search for a new kind of high, another type of addiction, that slowly removed the borders between humans and animals by pushing the limits too far. Shows like this have challenged our response to animal attacks which still remains a delicate and political subject. Often than not, we forget that we are the ones who have removed that boundary in the first place.

Conservationists are quick to remind us that attacks, in general, are downright rare. Sometimes the animals are looking for food, protecting their territories, felt threatened or confused when they attack, which is nothing more than our own reaction would be like if we were in their circumstance. We have to understand this too as it is unfair to just look at the situation slab-sidedly.

Animals-attack-human-funny-photo-3The cold fact remains – animal attacks happen and it is best to show caution, most especially when we start thinking that we are safe (because we are never certain anyway). We can’t get too cocky and must learn a few sensible survival tips that will best prepare us against nature’s unpredictable animal instincts.

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