A large troupe of monkeys are said to be blocking roads inside a national park because the lack of tourists amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has left them starving – but officials say it is fake news.
Footage showing a sea of Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) in an alleged ‘sit-in’ protest are actually monkeys patiently waiting for their meals, Qianling Mountain Park said.
The national park in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province in south-western China, banned visitors from feeding macaques on 23rd January as the novel coronavirus swept across China.
Video credit: AsiaWire
Tourists were also forbidden from having any bodily contact with the monkeys, which can only be observed from a distance of at least 3 metres (10 feet), the new regulations stated.
Rumours began circulating on social media claiming the feeding ban had left animals starving and without food for five days.
The monkeys then allegedly blocked roads in the park in protest.
Officials, however, have denied that their 10,000 or so macaques have ever been left unfed, saying they began a feeding programme on 25th January.
One spokesman told local media: “That’s fake news. They’re fed twice a day, in the morning and afternoon.
“Please don’t spread rumours.”
Staff say the macaques are fed about 250 kilogrammes (550 lbs) of specially selected foods at 10 locations every day.
Their meals include fresh fruits, pumpkins, peanuts, and buns.
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