A pianist from the UK played classical music to soothe hungry monkeys in Thailand - watch the video

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 4:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 4:05 pm

Coronavirus restrictions around the globe have resulted in places usually packed with people being left deserted, especially those frequented by tourists.

The effect of no regular visitors has been seen in Lopburi, Thailand, where wild macaque monkeys are normally fed by those visiting the province, usually at the ancient site of Phra Prang Sam Yod - aptly known as Monkey Temple.

But one local human resident has found a way to soothe the hunger of the crab-eating macaques - also known as long-tailed macaques.

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Raising awareness of the hunger of the macaques

UK born pianist, Paul Barton, who now lives in Thailand, has been playing the piano to the monkeys as a way of soothing them from their hunger.

He said, “It’s possible that the music can play a part of the rehabilitation process.”

The pianist has been playing Greensleeves, Beethoven’s Fur Elise, and Michael Nyman’s Diary of Love to the monkeys - some of which climb on his head as he plays.

Mr Barton said he hoped his concert would raise awareness about the monkeys’ hunger during the pandemic, adding, “We need to make an effort to make sure that they eat properly. And when they eat properly they will be calmer and will not be aggressive.”

Prior to playing music to monkeys, the pianist played the likes of Bach, Schubert, Chopin and Beethoven to elephants at retirement sanctuaries for more than a decade.

How long have the monkeys been in Lopburi?

Phra Prang Sam Yod was constructed in the 13th century in a heavily forested area, and when the city continued to gradually expand around the temple, the monkeys remained.

It’s believed that locals didn't mind the presence of the monkeys, as the macaques were believed to be living representatives of the Hindu god, Hanuman, and seen as being symbolic of good luck.

However, their population has continued to grow, with it calculated that, as of the end of September this year, there are over 9,000 macaques in the province of Lopburi.