Monday, December 12, 2005

Monkey numbers boom as human population declines in Hong Kong

While Hong Kong's human birthrate is falling, the former British colony is facing an explosion in its primate population, a news report said Monday.

The monkey population in Hong Kong is nearing 2,000 and rising at the rate of around 6 per cent a year, according to the South China Morning Post.

That contrasts sharply with the birth rate among the city's 6.8 million human population, which has become one of the lowest in the world at less than 0.8 babies per woman.

Monkeys live mostly in Hong Kong's rural country parks, where experts said hikers are feeding them and helping the population to grow at three times the normal rate.

De-population of villages in the New Territories, where locals would once have kept the monkey populations down, was also cited as a factor in the growth of the primate numbers.

Officials are looking at ways of trying to bring down the population growth of the monkeys - all of the grey macaque species - who are increasingly becoming a nuisance.

When the monkeys get used to being fed by hikers, they will grab bags of food from country park visitors or raid village homes and temples for food.

Story here.

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