Planet of the Monkeys

Thanks to Tracy’s brother, Edmund (my 135th Hong Kong Visitor – 134th went to Joanne’s cousin Sherane), he led us to an unique and interesting hiking site. Also locally known as the “Monkey Hill” (85% of the Hong Kong’s wild primates are residing here), the Kam Shan Country Park (金山郊野公園) is home to over 1,800 wild Macaques.

According to the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, these Macques aren’t native. Their ancestors were released at the Kam Shan hill for an unusual reason. Back in the 1910s, the locals were worried about the poisonous Strychnos berries may contaminated the reservoir. They released the Macaques to eat up the poisonous Strychnos plants (Macaques are immune to these berries).

Indeed, Edmund wasn’t exaggerating when he said it was like a scene from the movie “Planet of the Apes”. The large turnout of the wild monkeys was quite intimidating. We could smell and hear them. Instead of hiding in the bushes or in the trees, the Macaques were out roaming in the open. The monkeys were all around us. Clearly, Tracy and I were out-numbered. They were on the road, in the trees and on both sides of the granite wall. It seemed like a very healthy colony as we saw many young baby Macaques. Most of them were gentle and undeterred by the hikers’ presence. The young monkeys were actively playing/swinging while the adults were grooming their partners tenderly. But do exercise caution when you are near to a baby Macaques – its mother may turn against you suddenly. (Tracy had one nasty attack when she came too close to a baby!) Also, it is never wise to bring food into this park (not even packet drink or snacks). When we were drinking our packet drinks, the Macaques recognized those were food and they stalked us aggressively. We had to thrash our drinks quickly to avoid any trouble.

It was a short 3.7km scenic hike (Click here to see our hike). Took us less than an hour to complete the walk. Pretty easy on the feet as there weren’t many steep slopes and steps. Just be mindful where you are stepping as there are lots of Macaques’ wastes on the road. And watch out for unkind visitors too. We saw a stupid family who encouraged their son to shoot the poor monkey.

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