Usually existing in peaceful coexistence with locals and tourists, these simian wars are due to the disastrous effects of the global pandemic lockdown.
A rare and sacred white monkey was discovered covered in wounds last month in the village of Pecatu, South Kuta.
It’s Uluwatu, by the way.
Most locals regard this rare white monkey as the sacred manifestation of Hanuman, the intelligent hero of their religious folklore.
And death or even minor injuries to this primate spell disaster for the village.
And it looks like they were right about the disaster part.
The white monkey suffered these injuries during clashes between the seven separate troops of monkeys that inhabit the region surrounding Uluwatu. Usually existing in peaceful coexistence with locals and tourists, these simian wars are due to the disastrous effects of the global pandemic lockdown.
The ubiquitous monkeys are usually both the delight and the bane of travelers with their clever thieving ways (the monkeys, not the tourists). But during the Covid era, the marauding primates have had to rely on means other than the easy picking of tourists and temple guardians who feed them.
Emboldened by the lack of the usual human presence, the troops were forced to stage territorial raids on each other’s resources and on private villas in the area. Remove fruit from trees on properties and anything they might use. Outdoor picnics have become prime targets in many neighborhoods.
Home invasions have been reported by a number of Cliffside residents who have open plan villas or who have left the windows and doors of their homes open.
An Aussie surfer returned to his rental villa to find ‘they opened my fridge and they were having a hell of a good time. Thank God they left the beer”.
For surfers, these wild monkeys are an integral part of the Uluwatu experience. Since the time of earth morning in the present day, the kinship that surfers share with these animals is easy to see.
It was the surfers who created the tourist industry of the Bukit Peninsula, forever changing the wild and natural culture of the monkeys. And the ubiquitous monkeys, seemingly as carefree and focused on the simple pleasures as the surfers themselves, have always lent an exotic vibe to the cosmic tropical freedom that all surfers crave in Bali.
The good news is that this extremely rare and badly injured white monkey has been captured and nursed back to health from his last campaign.
With the number of tourists increasing like a fever, a ceasefire agreement has apparently been established between the monkey troops and new territorial boundaries have been agreed.
It seems like it’s time for all the monkeys in the Uluwatu region to recover from the wages of war.
And envision a brighter future as surfers return and contribute to the balance that is so vital to the culture of the island.
Peace has once again fallen upon Uluwatu, and the harmonious, though unspoken, accords between man and beast once again move in greased grooves.
A village chief says, “I know the recovery of the white monkey is a positive sign. I hope we can all get back together, the surfers, the monkeys, the waves and us, and that the economy will come back and we can all recover from the dire conditions we have suffered”.