Monkeying Around at the Batu Caves

The Batu Caves, a Hindu temple that is famous for large, golden Murugan statue, scenic cave temple location, and one of the most famous tourist spots in Malaysia. The Batu Caves are less known for its bustling monkey population. Macaques scamper up and down the steps inches away from people, living harmoniously with the tourist population. At first I thought it was so interesting that these monkeys were not afraid of humans but then I began noticing a few peculiar things. One monkey would be eating out of a bag of unknown goodies, another drinking from a bottle of water and then a few taking turns eating out of a bag of McDonalds.

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Eyeing another victim

Before the ascension up the steps I saw several workers tossing dozens of rotten coconuts into a large stone bin. After seeing all of these events I began putting it together. The reason these monkeys are not afraid of humans and live so close to them is because they need them. The monkeys seem as if they have been surviving by stealing coca cola (yes, coca cola), water and food from the tourist population.

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This begs the question, has the growing human population been a large hindrance on this specific locations group of macaque monkeys? Will future generations lack the survival skills to gather food on their own? Or will they be forced to live off the scraps of the tourists that go to the Batu Caves almost year round?

On one hand you have to be impressed with what the monkeys are doing. They have evolved around this population of humans into a group that takes advantage of the disruption to their small society. On the other hand, unfortunately, it seems as if the human population has disrupted the natural way the Macaque population at the Batu Caves works. These thoughts can go much deeper into a philosophical discussion of human disruption of nature but I would rather just leave a picture of a monkey leaning on a light pole.

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