Coronavirus Has Caused a Monkey War in Thailand and It Seems Straight Out of “Planet of the Apes”


Coronavirus Has Caused a Monkey War in Thailand and It Seems Straight Out of “Planet of the Apes”

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

In what seems like a scene straight out of an apocalypse film, monkeys have taken over the streets of Thailand. A gang war has reportedly started between two “rival” gangs of monkeys in Lopburi, central Thailand, over food.

The primates are usually fed by tourists who throng the province. But due to the coronavirus outbreak, the number of visitors has plummeted, leaving the animals hungry and desperate. According to Bangkok Post, the animals belong to two separate “gangs” – those who live in the city and those from the temple area. They are separated by a railway track and the two camps do not encroach upon each other’s territories.

However, in a clip that has gone viral, hordes of monkeys are seen running across the street, slowing down traffic. At first, it appears like they are running around looking for food, but suddenly the screeching increases and you see them chasing and fighting with a monkey over what appears to be a single banana.

Locals, who are accustomed to the presence of the primates, told the media that they were shocked by their ferocity and that they’ve never seen anything like that before. The images and video of the “monkey war” are now being shared on Twitter, with people making Planet of the Apes references. Film journalist Nick de Semlyen tweeted a link to The Daily Mail story and said, “The odds of us being in the Planet Of The Apes dystopia timeline just went up.”

Another Twitter user wrote, “Of course, you’ll recall that the original novel of THE PLANET OF THE APES begins with a pandemic virus. Just saying… #CoronaOutbreak #OurMonkeyOverlords #UrkoForLeader.”

The desperate monkeys, however, are not the only animals in distress – the panic itself has a pandemic. Closer home in Maharashtra, a farmer from Dahanu destroyed poultry worth ₹5.8 crore after sale of chicken has dropped amid the outbreak. He has culled 1.75 lakh one-day-old birds and nine lakh hatchery eggs on his farm after fake news spread that consumption of chicken leads to coronavirus infections. Pandemics like the coronavirus affect the poor and the marginalised most severely – and stray animals find themselves completely helpless.