Looting monkeys stealing valuables for food

Researchers say monkeys estimate the value of stolen goods (File photo: AFP)

A new study has found that long-tailed monkeys living near the Oluvoto Temple in Indonesia are deliberately stealing valuables from tourists in exchange for better food.

Researchers have discovered that these ‘business’ monkeys have a complex knowledge of what items tourists consider most valuable and for which they can get a better reward for food.

A team from the University of Laithbridge in Canada spent 273 days at the temple in Bali and recorded more than 2,000 contacts between monkeys and tourists.

He set a value for the food given to the monkeys in exchange for these items and observed three priorities in the food provided by the temple staff to tourists wishing to get their goods back, namely raw eggs, fruits. There were bags and old biscuits

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From the recorded videos, they observed that monkeys estimate the value of stolen goods and often try to get the best possible reward when stealing items such as mobile phones, wallets and cameras.

However, previous laboratory experiments showed that monkeys valued non-food items such as plastic containers and could learn from the experiment that these items could be exchanged for food. The study looked at monkeys roaming freely around the temple.

According to research published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Dr. Jean-Baptiste Leica, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Leith Bridge, says: Observed to learn about the value of goods. According to his observations, small monkeys cannot differentiate between the value of these items