Wednesday, June 15, 2016

News You Can't Use: Chinese Village Besieged by Hundreds of Macaques

I am one of those rare individuals who likes to have fun, a fact I make sure to note on my hundreds of online profiles. Having this unconventional and unique desire does raise certain issues, from the painful realization that almost everything is "boring" to attempting to measure the levels of fun actually occurring. On that particular frontier we are making woeful progress, reduced to using miniature candy bars as the main measuring stick. Well, that and monkeys stuffed in barrels. With that in mind a village in exotic Cathay decided that if one barrel worth is good than flooding the entire village with Macaques is sure to stimulate the local economy, create jobs and reduce the dependence on foreign simian imports. Unfortunately, this genius idea somehow led to unintended consequences like "There's monkeys everywhere!" I know, who could have guessed?

A village in China has been left overrun with hundreds of macaques after a plan to introduce them and increase tourism to the area backfired. 

That feeling when you realize the villagers love their monkey more than sensible and realistic long term planning.

Xianfeng village in south-west China's Sichuan province decided to give a boost to their visitor numbers in 2003 by introducing 73 of the monkeys to the area, reported the People's Daily Online. 

You probably remember the massive tourism boom experienced by Xianfeng, the celebrities, the unrehearsed testimony from Western randos, all of it. 13 years later, after all the glory has faded, there's only the crush of regret.

However over the past 13 years, the numbers have increased dramatically to 600 leaving the village swamped with the animals.  

I guess the "one child policy" (I'm aware it changed but let's pretend it didn't for the following joke) doesn't apply to our furry friends.

They were inspired by Emei Mountain, a famous tourist spot which is inhabited by wild macaques. 

I think that's where one of my Facebook friends went and posted hundreds of pictures. That or Paris, I'm not totally certain.

They spent 48 days transporting 73 apes to the area, reports CCTV News. 

Sounds like the set-up to one of those "word problems" from a common core math class that everyone hates. Please estimate how many hours it would take to move a single ape while trying not to pass out from hunger after ash-canning another Michelle Obama lunch.

In the beginning, the business model seemed to work with many people coming to the area to see the monkeys. 

Seriously, the business model was totally sound. It's almost like something out of an economics textbook. Sadly more monkeys = not only more money but also more problems. 

But things began to go wrong when Zhou Zhenggui, the main investor in the initiative passed away. The company supporting the tourist business then collapsed. 

Our tourism board is a cult of personality that collapses when the charismatic and ruthless leader is gone.

Locals were hoping the monkeys would disappear without food however the macaques seemed to like their new home. 

It's getting harder and harder to root for a village that cynically removes mega-fauna from its natural environment and then hopes they'll starve once they become inconvenient.

They wreaked havoc in the village, eating crops , causing damage to homes and even biting visitors. 

It's almost like these dumb beasts have enough of a glimmer of intelligence to exploit the situation.

This is what happened, more or less.

Macquaes are a class 2 national protected species and so the problem has to be treated delicately.  

Absolutely nothing about this story suggests that responsible and "delicate" behavior occurred to anyone, at any time.

Experts were brought in to trap 300 of the animals and send them away however the rest are determined to stay.  

Yeah, I guess that's what would probably happen.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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