This Garden in Bali Is Inhabited by Primates

Manila Bulletin, February 16, 2010 | Go to article overview

This Garden in Bali Is Inhabited by Primates


Our recent visit to Bali in Indonesia wouldn’t have been complete without checking out the city’s many gardens, parks and sanctuaries. One sanctuary we explored serves as an engaging home for century-old trees and 340 monkeys of the specie Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis). Dubbed the Monkey Forest, the place allows visitors to interact with humans.To begin with, the forest is a nature reserve and temple complex, spread throughout 27 acres of what is known worldwide as the artists’ community of Ubud in Bali. It is called the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal. However, Monkey Forest is also a popular tourist destination that attracts roughly 10,000 visitors monthly. It is also a favorite picnic area and park for residents who find its cool shade and restful ambiance perfect for children and romance. Owned by the village of Padangtegal in Ubud, the Monkey Forest is governed by a council of village members that serves to maintain the sacred integrity of the site. As soon as one enters the forest (the admission price is 50, 000 Indonesian rupiah or US$5), he is immediately met by a band of chattering monkeys, big and small, with tails longer than usual. However, tourists are warned the monkeys can be adept at snatching whatever one may have on his person. These are the forest’s official residents, and we are told there are three different types of these monkeys. Aside from these primates, the place has three temples dating from the 14th century, several hundred year-old trees, wonderful stone crafted animal sculptures, and roaring streams.For a lot of tourists, the forest is the main reason to visit the place and the primate residents are merely considered as only a sometimes funny, sometimes bothersome appendage. But we were told by the Indonesians this shouldn’t be so as there is so much to learn about these creatures. The three monkey kings that rule the Monkey Forest – one in the east, one in the west, and another in the middle – tell their subjects to stay within their territories. …

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