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'Monkey King’ and his monkeys at Dagu Glacier

Publish Time: 2017-11-07 Author: From: China.org.cn

Zheng Yungui, 45, is the head of the Lower Dagu Station of Dagu Scenic Area. He is affectionately called the “Monkey King” because he has been taking care of the Tibetan macaques, also known as Chinese stump-tailed macaques, living there since 2005. [Photo by You Zixuan/China.org.cn] 

In the 12 years until now, the number of Tibetan macaques has grown from 70-80 to around 200. Zheng Yungui knows perfectly well which macaques belong to the same group, which macaque is the king, what their habits are and exactly where they live.

Zheng is able to assemble the macaques for meals simply with several loud sounds of “Wo.” The macaques will immediately come over to him, catch hold of his legs and take food from his hands. When the food in the basin is eaten up and Zheng goes back to his room to fetch more, the macaques will wait at the door. When meals are occasionally not served on time, the macaques will knock at Zheng’s door.

At the beginning, in order to win the trust of the macaques, Zheng read a lot of books to know their habits. He first slowly came in contact with the naughty macaques from across the river and over time when they knew each other better, the macaques crossed the river to follow Zheng.

“In fact, I wake up every morning, worrying they will come no longer,” said Zheng. It is perhaps a feeling of being afraid of losing after friendship was gained.

Eye contact is the primary means of communication between Zheng and the macaques. When he feeds them, their begging eyes make Zheng full of affection for them as seen from his own eyes. Worried the monkey are not full, he will feed them cabbages after corns until the macaques leave on their own accord. Then Zheng will go back to his room to prepare his own lunch.

Speaking of his feelings for the macaques, Zheng said they were like his own children. He loves them but sometime gets angry with them.

Once when Zheng was out patrolling the mountain, he forgot to lock the door of his room. The monkeys then broke in and made a big mess inside. It took a long hour for Zheng to clean up the mess.

For an additional example, a monkey died in an accident and this saddened Zheng for a quite a long while.

I will intimidate them when necessary, said Zheng.

The area Zheng guards allow zero-distance contact between the macaques and the tourists. Tourists will often feed the macaques with the food they bring, and sometimes the wild monkeys will scratch the tourists in order to get the food. When this happens, Zheng will first instruct the frightened tourists to stop feeding and then frighten off the monkeys.

The Tibetan macaques living there usually have a body length of 550-670 millimeters and a tail length of 60-l00 milimeters, thus the biggest-sized type of macaques.

Golden monkeys also live at Dagu Glacier Reserve, but are rarely seen.

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