.: Physical features of the nature reserve :.
The Ubud Monkey Forest covers approximately a tenth of a square kilometer (approximately 10 hectares or 27 acres) at the lower end of Jalan Monkey Forest in the village of Padangtegal and contains at least 115 different species of trees. The park is heavily forested and hilly. A deep ravine runs through the park grounds, at the bottom of which flows a rocky stream. Trails allow visitors access to many parts of the park, including the ravine and stream. The Monkey Forest grounds have a forest conservation area, a public hall and gallery, an open stage, a canteen, a first aid center, a police post, parking and toilet facilities, and a composting facility.
.: Temples :.
Monkey Forest grounds are home to three Hindu temples, all apparently constructed
The Pura Beji, or Beji Temple, in the northwestern part of the park, is used for the worship of Hyang Widhi in personification of the goddess Gangga. A "Holy Spring" bathing temple, it is a place of spiritual and physical cleansing and purification prior to religious ceremonies.
The Pura Prajapati, or Prajapati Temple, located in the northeastern part of the park, is used to worship Hyang Widhi in personification of Prajapati. A cemetery adjacent to this temple receives the bodies of the deceased for temporary burial while they await a mass cremation ceremony, held once every five years.
The temples play an important role in the spiritual life of the local community and the monkey and its mythology are important in the Balinese art tradition.
The Monkey Forest area is sanctified by the local community and some parts of it are not open to view by the public. Sacred areas of the temples are closed to everyone except those willing to pray and wear proper Balinese praying attire.
.: The Monkeys :.
Although the monkey population is ever changing, in 2011, a study revealed that 605 crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) – 39 adult males, 38 male sub-adults, 194 adult females, 243 juveniles, and 91 infants – were living in the Ubud Monkey Forest; locally, they are known as the Balinese long-tailed monkey. The park staff feed the monkeys sweet potato three times a day, providing them with their main source of food in the park, although bananas are for sale in the park for tourists wishing to feed the monkeys, and the monkeys also feed on papaya leaf, corn, cucumber, coconut, and other local fruit. For the sake of the monkey's health, visitors are prohibited from feeding them snacks such as peanuts, cookies, biscuits, and bread.
There are five groups of monkeys in the park, each occupying different territories; one group inhabits the area in front of the Main Temple, another in the park's Michelin area, a third in the park's eastern area, and a fourth within the park's central area, while the fifth group lives in the cremation and cemetery area. In recent years, the monkey population has become larger than an environment undisturbed by humans could support; it continues to grow, with the population density in 2016 higher than ever. Conflicts between the groups are unavoidable; for example, groups must pass through one another's territory to reach the stream during the dry season, and increasing population pressures are also bringing the groups into more frequent contact.
The monkeys rest at night and are most active during the day, which brings them into constant contact with humans visiting during the park's opening hours. Visitors can observe their daily activities – mating, fighting, grooming, and caring for their young – at close range, and can even sit next to monkeys along the park's paths.
The Ubud monkeys have completely lost their fear of humans. Generally, they will not approach humans who they believe are not offering food but they do invariably approach human visitors in groups and grab any bags containing food that people have. They may also grab plastic bottles and bags not containing food, as well as reach into visitors' bags and trouser pockets in search of food, and will climb onto visitors to reach food being held in a visitor's hand, even if the food is held above a visitor's head. The visitor will notice the interesting phenomenon of numerous obese monkeys, a testament to the almost limitless food supply the huge number of tourists entering the forest provide.
The park staff advise visitors never to pull back an offer of food to a monkey or to touch a monkey, as either action can prompt an aggressive response by the animal. Although they generally ignore humans who they believe do not have food, they sometimes mistake a human's actions as an offer of food or an attempt to hide food. If a human does not provide the food the monkeys demand or does not provide it quickly enough, the monkeys will occasionally bite the human; in fact, monkeys bite tourists daily and videos of many of these attacks can be found on YouTube. Monkey bites are a very serious medical event given the variety of viruses monkeys carry that can be transferred to humans. For example, Herpes B virus, which frequently causes death in humans, is prevalent in crab-eating macaques, and should be assumed to be prevalent in the monkey populations in the Ubud Monkey Forest.
Park personnel carry slingshots with which to intimidate aggressive monkeys and intervene quickly in confrontations between monkeys and humans. Given the monkey's apparently increasing aggressiveness toward humans and the risk their bites pose to human health, Balinese politicians have called for a cull of crab-eating macaques in Bali although authorities have not yet formally accepted these calls.
Dogs, which otherwise might intimidate the monkeys, are not allowed within the Ubud Monkey Forest.
.: Other animals on the reserve :.
The Ubud Monkey Forest contains a fenced enclosure for a small herd of Timor rusa (Rusa timorensis timorensis), a type of deer native to the island of Timor. Visitors may view the deer enclosure.
.: Management :.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is owned by the village of Padangtegal and village members serve on the Monkey Forest's governing council. The Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation – "Wenara Wana" being Balinese for "Monkey Forest" – manages the Monkey Forest and serves to maintain its sacred integrity and to promote it as a destination for visitors from around the world.
.: Ubud Monkey Forest entry fee (2023):.
.: Map of Ubud Monkey Forest :.
TAGS: Ubud, Monkey, Forest, Reserve, Hindu, Temple, Bali, Indonesia
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