Veracruz tries to control monkey population

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The monkey abandoned on the street comes into contact with other animals every day

The city of Veracruz in Mexico is cracking down on a population of monkeys that number about two dozen in the past five years.

But officials say the number is increasing.

Over the past week, police have set up barriers to keep residents from bringing the monkeys into homes and surrounding streets.

It is difficult to do so because the monkeys want to eat and drink directly from people’s plates.

See the story in the video above.

Images shared by Veracruz’s population control team show authorities in protective gear protecting themselves against monkey bites.

Bananas, chocolate, cacao and sugarcane are amongst the goods the monkeys try to bite.

Only macaques are involved in the attacks.

Some residents say that most of the monkeys’ meals come from scrap-metal-strewn roads.

“They are very aggressive, they are really unruly. If they really wanted to attack, they could do so,” Jaime Bacha, a volunteer with Veracruz’s population control team, told AFP news agency.

Image copyright AFP Image caption A strain of monkey mites has also affected the population

Some are residents and tourists who deposit food for the monkeys at their homes or even leave food in their alleys.

Other monkeys are looking for mates who can consume food left outside bins, garbage bins and bus stops.

A strain of monkey mites has also been affecting the population.

Professional carers provide expensive treatments to the mites.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Alice, one of the animals in the circus being show in Mexico

One attempt by authorities to control the monkey population, in 2013, ended in another round of killings.

In a video posted on social media on Tuesday, Alice, a circus monkey, can be seen roaming the streets of Veracruz.

“I have to live in a cage. You are putting me in quarantine,” said the monkey.

Clemente Machado, spokesman for Veracruz state government, said his country is regularly hit by wildfires because of forest fires raging in neighbouring states, and this mosquito-borne virus from Mexico is blamed for illnesses such as rabies.

“This is a very big health risk. The monkey can be a carrier of all the diseases,” he said.

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