Ever since the local monkey troop has taken a liking to our papayas we have been offered unending advice on how to get rid of them. For many months of the year keeping monkeys out of one’s fields is a major pre-occupation for the Mwinika.
Apparently they have had plenty of time to ponder tactics. Most of the advice ranged from the mundane (i.e. get a dog) to the self-seeking (i.e. hire me as a full time gardener and I will guard your papayas) but there have been some more interesting suggestions.
The most unique proposal was to capture a monkey from the troop and paint it white (or any other color for that matter). Here’s the science behind the tactic.
When you release the painted monkey it runs to rejoin its troop. The troop sees the painted monkey approaching and is afraid of it and runs away. The painted monkey recognizes that something is terrifying the troop so he runs harder to catch up. They, in turn, run even harder to escape.
I am told that if you release the monkey in the early morning the troop will flee all day long. (I wonder if anyone has ever bothered to follow them long enough to verify this point.) When (or perhaps IF) they ever do stop running, at least it won’t be until they are far away and at that point they will be someone else’s problem.
At any rate, we are not planning to conduct any experiments to verify the validity of this tactic, we just thought it was pretty unique.