The large number of monkeys in various tourist spots of Taif Governorate is both a menace and a delight, depending on which side of the divide you are in. For the residents, they are a menace and for the tourists, they are an attraction. However, following complaints from the residents, wildlife research centers in the governorate, in coordination with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, are working toward decreasing the number of monkeys in Al-Hada province.
Dr. Ahmad Al-Bouq, director of a research center in Taif, said a workshop will be held in Riyadh to solve the problem of domesticated monkeys in Taif. Solutions will be worked out in coordination with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. Stating that efforts were already under way to reduce the number of monkeys, he said it had become necessary to take steps because their numbers were too large for their natural habitats to accommodate them, besides causing several problems for residential areas and on the roads.
Specialists believe that visitors to the area contributed to the increasing number of monkeys by giving them food, while others say monkeys are an important attraction for visitors to Al-Hada, Al-Shafa, Al-Redf and other tourist areas. Dr. Al-Bouq said work on behavioral and environmental studies was still under way to find solutions for domestication. Al-Ribah monkeys that live in Al-Hada are similar to monkeys that live in East Africa and Yemen, he said, adding that a large number of domesticated monkeys live in Al-Taif next to roads, while other monkeys survive by attacking agricultural areas. Some had also spread in the outskirts of cities causing many problems to the municipality and residential areas in the vicinity. Studies conducted earlier focused on environmental and behavioral aspects to find ways that are acceptable internationally and scientifically to limit the phenomenon of domestication, he said, adding that using these monkeys for scientific research was left to research centers.
Courtesy : Arab News