Coronavirus sparks 'monkey gang war' in the streets of Thailand

The two gangs usually never interact, but circumstances have brought them into contact and conflict.

A trained monkey salutes as it performs on a sidewalk in Isl (photo credit: AP)
A trained monkey salutes as it performs on a sidewalk in Isl
(photo credit: AP)
A brutal gang war appears to have begun in the streets of one central Thailand city between hundreds of different individuals, The Bangkok Post reported.
But rather than your typical gangsters, this fight is between monkeys.
The Lopburi monkey population numbers in the thousands, many of them living on the grounds of the ancient Buddhist temples in the city. The Post reported of a divide between two "gangs," one controlling the territory in the city and the other controlling the area in and around Phra Prang Sam Yod, an ancient Buddhist temple that is also known as the monkey temple. These "gangs" of monkeys are typically divided by train tracks, and thus usually never interact, but recent circumstances have brought the two groups into contact – and conflict.
However, the source of the fight was not a star-crossed romance story between gang-monkeys, but is actually linked to the coronavirus – and was sparked by a single banana.
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has seen a sharp decline in tourism all over the world, especially in Asia, where the outbreak first began. As such, this has caused the many monkeys in the city of Lopburi to lose out on their primary food supply: Food from tourists.
Tourists typically keep the local primate population well fed, but now every scrap of food is precious.
The fight seemingly started because the monkeys at the temple were low on food, prompting the leader of the temple-monkey gang to lead a group into the city to search for food in the market area, eyewitness Biew Um-in told Thai Rath online.
The second that one monkey found a single banana, hundreds of other monkeys swarmed in, starting a massive brawl that shocked many locals, who have never seen the local monkeys behave so aggressively.

"They looked more like wild dogs than monkeys. They went crazy for the single piece of food," said eyewitness Sasaluk Rattanachai, who captured footage of the scene that took place outside the shop where she worked, according to Mail Online. I've never seen them this aggressive."
This problem is not entirely isolated to Lopburi, with monkeys throughout the country suffering from a lack of food due to a lack of tourists.
According to the Mail Online, Thailand's economy is reliant on tourism, which makes up 18% of the GDP, especially from China, where the coronavirus outbreak is at its worse.
Monkeys are often a common site in many cities around the world, and are often a serious problem. One town in India has seen many of its residents forced to flee after an army of several hundred monkeys attacked many of the locals and stolen much of the crops.