Crab Eating, Long-tailed Macaques in the Gulf of Thailand

long-tailed macaque swimming in Thailand
Photo courtesy of Driven2Travel

What do long-tailed macaques and fishermen have in common? They both like seafood!

I don’t want to share the name of this village in Thailand because this is a fragile environment and too much tourism would distort the economy here to the detriment of the natural environment.

Troop of long-tailed macaques in Thailand
Troop of long-tailed macaques in Thailand

The local economy is based upon farming cockles. This is an arduous process involving the seeding and re-seeding of cockle beds over several years to bring the crop up to a marketable size. Sadly the farmers are so poor they are easy prey for the middle men who make the most money from the trade just because they have the means to transport the product to market on their trucks. Some local cockle farmers are forming a cooperative in the hope of controlling the price.

long-tailed macaque mother and baby swimming in Thailand
Photo courtesy of Driven2Travel

To cap it all they now have to contend with pollution from a food processing plant recently built just up the coast near Bangkok. The biggest farmer sold the majority of his cockle beds a few years ago and has built an ugly tourist hostel on stilts in the middle of the bay.

long-tailed macaque mother and baby swimming in Thailand
Photo courtesy of Driven2Travel

The farmers revere the long-tailed macaques who inhabit the mangrove.

There is a shrine on stilts where one of them leaves a votive offering every morning. There are about a thousand long-tailed macaques living in 20 colonies in this area which has protected status thanks to a Princess’ interest.

Two long-tailed macaques swimming to find crabs in Thailand
Photo courtesy of Driven2Travel

At low-tide, just as the cockle pickers are out on their boards, these inventive creatures are also scouring the mud for their favourite food – soft-shell crab. They are just as happy to eat the bananas that we offered them from our fisherman’s boat to tempt them from the trees to show their swimming skills. Fights soon break out between neighbouring colonies and within to establish dominance and feeding rights.

Angry long-tailed macaque in Thailand
Photo courtesy of Driven2Travel

This post is courtesy of Andy from Driven2Travel who had an absolutely amazing time getting these pictures.  Also be sure to check out his post on Macaques in Thailand for more great photos of macaques.

I am seriously jealous that he got to observe swimming long-tailed macaques!

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