Ubud Monkey Forest
Its official name is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Balinese Mandala Suci Wenara Wana), and its name as written on its welcome sign is the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
The Monkey Forest lies within the village of Padangtegal, which owns it. The village’s residents view the Monkey Forest as an important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation center for the village.
The Ubud Monkey Forest covers approximately a tenth of a square kilometer (approximately 10 hectares or 27 acres) 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 Ubud Monkey Forest describes its mission as conservation of the area within its boundaries according to the Hindu principle of Tri Hata Karana (“Three ways to reach spiritual and physical well-being”), which seeks to make people live harmoniously during their lives. The “three ways” to this goal under the Tri Hata Karana doctrine are harmonious relationships between humans and humans, between humans and the natural environment, and between humans and The Supreme God.
Accordingly, the Monkey Forest has a philosophical goal of creating peace and harmony for visitors from all over the world. It also seeks to conserve rare plants and animals for use in Hindu rituals and to provide a natural laboratory for educational institutions, with a particular emphasis on research into the social interaction of the park’s monkeys with one another and their interaction with the park’s natural environment.
Known locally as the Balinese long-tailed monkey, approximately 605 crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) live in the Ubud Monkey Forest. The park staff feeds 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 monkeys’ health, visitors are prohibited from feeding them snacks such as peanuts, cookies, biscuits, and bread.
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 business 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 monkeys have lost their fear of humans. Generally, they will not approach humans who they believe are not offering food, but they invariably approach human visitors in groups and grab any bags containing food that the humans have. Park personnel carry slingshots with which to intimidate aggressive monkeys and intervene quickly in confrontations between monkeys and humans.