Thai Town Maddened by Marauding Monkeys Launches Plan to Lock Them up and Send Them Away 

A worker chases monkeys away from a customer in front of an auto-part shop in Lopburi Province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP)
A worker chases monkeys away from a customer in front of an auto-part shop in Lopburi Province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP)
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Thai Town Maddened by Marauding Monkeys Launches Plan to Lock Them up and Send Them Away 

A worker chases monkeys away from a customer in front of an auto-part shop in Lopburi Province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP)
A worker chases monkeys away from a customer in front of an auto-part shop in Lopburi Province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP)

A Thai town, run ragged by its ever-growing population of marauding wild monkeys, launched an offensive against the simian raiders on Friday, using trickery and ripe tropical fruit.

Several high-profile cases of monkey-human conflict recently convinced authorities in Lopburi in central Thailand that they had to reduce the animals' numbers.

If all goes well, most will end up behind bars, before starting a new life elsewhere.

The first stage of the plan, instituted Friday, is to bait cages with the animals’ favorite food, then wait for hunger to get the better of their natural caution.

There was early success for the catchers on one street, with three of the macaques falling for the ruse and ending up trapped because they had fancied a taste of rambutan fruit. The cages had been placed on the street earlier in the week so the monkeys got used to them and found them less threatening.

There are thought to be around 2,500 monkeys running around the town. The capture of the unlucky trio and around 30 others - trapped in other parts of the town - slightly pared down that total.

The effort will go on for five days this month, then is likely to be repeated. Some of the monkeys will be left free to maintain Lopburi’s image as Thailand’s monkey town.

But no one is expecting it to be easy.

“With the monkey’s intelligence, if some of them go into the cage and are caught, the others outside won’t enter the cage to get the food because they’ve already learnt what’s happened to their friends,” said Patarapol Maneeorn from Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

The roaming monkeys have long been a symbol of the town, 140 kilometers (90 miles) north of Bangkok, and are a major tourist draw. They've become increasingly aggressive, however, with several videos of them snatching food from residents and causing injuries being widely shared online.

One auto parts shop now trades from behind wire. The owners erected it at the time of the coronavirus pandemic, but keeping out the light-fingered primates was also a prime concern. They say they’ve adapted to the monkey problem, but not everyone has.

“When there are a lot of monkeys around, customers are afraid of buying the goods at the shop. Only our regulars aren’t frightened,” said Supaporn Tantiwong.

The town’s mayor, Chamroen Salacheep, agrees that the monkeys, while bringing in visitors, have also become bad for trade, with shops and malls seeing a drop in income and even people’s homes damaged. Lopburi, he said, is almost an “abandoned town.”

“After our operation is over,” Chamroen said, “I will do a big cleaning across the town and paint all the buildings to regain the faith of the people.”

These may seem like grim times for monkeys in Lopburi, but there is a plan to give them a fresh start.

On Friday authorities began sedating them to carry out health checks before cleaning and sterilizing them and inking them with tattoos so they can be identified to keep accurate records.

After that they’ll transfer them to a series of huge holding pens, just outside the town center, while looking for a permanent home.



Crews Rescue 30 People Trapped Upside Down High on Amusement Park Ride

Crews rescue dozen of people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride - The AP
Crews rescue dozen of people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride - The AP
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Crews Rescue 30 People Trapped Upside Down High on Amusement Park Ride

Crews rescue dozen of people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride - The AP
Crews rescue dozen of people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride - The AP

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued around 30 people Friday after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

Portland Fire and Rescue said on the social platform X that firefighters worked with engineers at Oaks Park to manually lower the ride, but crews had been preparing to conduct a high-angle ropes rescue if necessary. All riders were being evacuated and medically evaluated, and there were no reports of injuries.

One rider with a pre-existing medical condition was taken to a hospital for further evaluation as a precaution, Oaks Amusement Park said in a statement posted on social media. Medics released all other passengers.

The ride, called AtmosFEAR, operates like a pendulum, with the capacity to swing riders completely upside down.

Chris Ryan and his wife, from nearby Gresham, were at the park for his birthday. He told The Associated Press in a Facebook message that they had just been planning to ride AtmosFEAR when they saw it was stuck and heard people saying, “Oh my God, they are upside down.”

They decided to walk away because of "how scary the situation was,” he said. They eventually got on the Ferris wheel and heard a loudspeaker announcement that the park was closed and that people should evacuate.

When the ride stopped, park staff immediately called 911 and emergency responders arrived about 25 minutes later, the park statement said. Park maintenance workers were able to return the ride to its unloading position minutes after first responders arrived.

Portland Fire said about 30 people were on board. The amusement park statement said there were 28 riders.

The ride has been in operation since 2021 and has not had any prior incidents, the park said. It will remain closed until further notice. The park said it would work with the ride's manufacturer and state inspectors to determine the cause of the stoppage.

“We wish to express our deepest appreciation to the first responders and our staff for taking prompt action, leading to a positive outcome today, and to the rest of the park guests who swiftly followed directions to vacate the park to make way for the emergency responders to attend to the situation,” it said.

Oaks Park first opened in 1905. Its website says it offers a “uniquely Portland blend of modern thrills and turn-of-the-century charm on a midway that has delighted generations of Northwesterners.”