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 Hungry Monkeys Eye Merapi Villagers’ Crops

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BerichtOnderwerp: Hungry Monkeys Eye Merapi Villagers’ Crops   Hungry Monkeys Eye Merapi Villagers’ Crops Icon_minitimedi 15 nov 2011 - 23:59

November 15, 2011

Klaten, Central Java. On top of the dangerous mudfloods sweeping the area this rainy season, villagers on the slopes of Central Java’s Mount Merapi are now having to worry about the hundreds of famished monkeys that have been coming after their crops.

“These monkeys are getting increasingly numerous and are eating up local crops, such as corn, so that residents now have to guard their fields so that they are not all eaten up by these monkeys,” said Suradi, head of Kemalang subdistrict on Merapi’s eastern slope.

Suradi said the monkeys’ habitat had been severely damaged by Merapi’s deadly 2010 eruption, which had forced the animals further down the mountain in search of food.

He said he was hopeful that the management of Merapi National Park (TNGM) would help the farmers by feeding the monkeys, keeping them away from the crops.

“These monkeys are famished and so are forced to go down the mountain,” Suradi said.

“Therefore we call on TNGM to provide feedstock for these Merapi monkeys.”

Sukidjo, who lives in Tegalmulyo village in Klaten, about seven kilometers from Merapi’s mouth, said the monkeys were not yet too great a threat.

“Their presence is still not so disturbing and their actions are still normal,” Sukidjo said.

In the nearby Balerante village, monkeys were also searching for food.

“Corn is their favorite food but this should not cause too many losses for residents,” said Sukono, who lives in Balerante. “If they take too much, residents will start guarding their crops.”

Sukono said he was not disturbed by the roaming monkeys because their presence was common in the area.

He said residents understood the monkeys’ plight and realized they could not find food in their damaged forests.

About 745 hectares of the 869 hectares of TNGM in Klaten were seriously damaged in the 2010 eruption, local data showed.

(x the JG)

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