During the pandemic and in the midst of deserted tourist visits, a number of monkeys of the Ubud Monkey Forest tourist attraction have a promenade to the hotels near the object. Seeing this phenomenon, not a few people think the monkeys are traveling to the hotel because of a lack of food. Actually, when tourism condition was normal or before the Covid-19 pandemic, the monkeys were used to traveling to hotels. “If said to have often come to the hotels, it is relative. The behavior of monkeys has always been like that. However, when tourism was still normal it did not feel like a bother. As evidence, there are some hotel guests who like to see monkeys,” said General Manager Nyoman Sutarjana, on Friday (Jan. 29).
Monkeys traveling to one or two hotels may be familiar, but if they are in large numbers it has not happened yet because so far the hotels in that area have not submitted or passed any complaints. Several hotels visited by one or two monkeys even become the main attraction to the hotel. “Monkeys and human have similar characters. Even though we have given them food, there are times when after eating they go out of the area around the forest to find a different atmosphere,” he said.
On that account, the management has staff who is specifically tasked with driving away monkeys from leaving the object to return to the forest. However, sometimes there are also some that can escape. “In the current condition of deserted tourist visit, the community might feel disturbed if monkeys arrive at their hotel. So, we hope their cooperation to contact us so that we can assign conservation employees to evict them. Honestly, if we are both aware the monkeys have a positive impact on the hotels and the surrounding communities,” he explained.
Sutarjana added that the long-tailed monkey in Ubud Monkey Forest is very much made sacred by local residents, mainly by the Padangtegal customary villagers, so that it is really well maintained. Therefore, the management feeds at least five times a day. In the morning, they are given sweet potatoes. between morning and afternoon they are given additional snack in the form of banana or sweet corn. At midday they are given sweet potatoes and snack between midday and evening in the form of corn or bananas. In the afternoon, they are given sweet potato again.
This type of food is sometimes added with papaya leaves and local seasonal fruit. The management puts the food at 14 places scattered in throughout the area, making it easier for the field and conservation team to provide food at predetermined hours. For around 1,100 monkeys, the management buys them food from suppliers and some others from the village land harvest. “Within a day, we spend 1,500 kg of sweet potatoes, 800 sweet corns, 600-700 combs of banana plus papaya leaves and seasonal fruit. If you are curious, you can visit the Monkey Forest once to see the monkey feeding activities,” he said promoting.
As for monkey health, the management has an in-house clinic for animals as well as for visitors. For veterinary clinics, the management specifically makes collaboration with veterinarians. “Regarding the cost of the monkey feed, we are still subsidized by Padangtegal Village, Ubud, because tourist visits are very minimal, decreasing considerably from before. Within a day, there are an average of 100 visitors,” he added with a deep sigh. (BTN/015)