Unlike most (all?) American cities, Hong Kong doesn’t have suburbs and is instead mostly surrounded by ocean and hilly forests. These forests are filled with way too many monkeys. In 2009, the Hong Kong government launched a 5-year Monkey Contraception Project, a city-wide project to administer contraceptives to wild monkeys. Every few months, volunteers from the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, and any Hong Kong residents who are interested in participating spend a day in the forest spaying monkeys. When I was visiting in April, I was given the opportunity to tag along on one of these outings. At the start of the project, giant green cages were set up at various sites. They keep the door of the cages open so the monkeys can wander in and out and get used to the cages. Every few days, some volunteers go around putting peanuts on the floor of the cages to attract them inside.Then, on a project day, a program leader will visit each green cage and close the ones that have a good number of monkeys in them. Somehow, there are always more monkeys looking in than monkeys trapped inside. “Ha ha, suckers!”All the volunteers then head over to the site and start set-up. Generally, 3 stations are needed – one for capture, one for examination, and one for surgery. It was rainy that day, so we had tents.To get the monkeys out individually, smaller cages are set-up on one side of the green cage while volunteers push the wall of the other side to make the cage smaller.Once a monkey finds its way into a small cage, the walls of the small cage are collapsed until the monkey cannot move. That way, a volunteer can administer a tranquilizer shot easily. Then we simply waited for the monkey to fall asleep before taking it out.A volunteer then carries the monkey over to the examination area where they check the gender and take measurements. If the monkey is female, they shave her to check if she’s been spayed. They also take note of and treat any wounds. Apparently these monkeys are vicious and will attack simply if looked at the wrong way. One monkey had a finger that was bitten off…The monkeys also like to store peanuts in their cheeks, so a volunteer will often have to massage their faces to get the peanuts out.If a female monkey has not been spayed, it’s on to the surgery station. The vet performs the surgery laparoscopically and pokes small holes in the monkeys stomach area – one for the mini camera and 2 for surgical tools. The monkey’s stomach is puffed up using carbon dioxide and then the vet simply lifts the ovaries and makes a small snip to separate it from the uterus. Then the instruments are removed and the holes are treated with “skin glue.”Finally, the monkey gets a small tattoo to indicate the she’s already been spayed. The monkeys get a different tattoo depending on when/when she was spayed.If a monkey is male or a female who has already been spayed, s/he gets placed inside a temporary holding cage. They are placed like this to help them keep warm.Once all the monkeys in a holding cage are sufficiently awake, they get moved back to the green cage. It was chilly that day, so we waited until all the monkeys stopped shivering to move them.Once they’re in the green cage, it’s like nothing every happened. This is a monkey eating peanuts again after being abducted by us. Once all the monkeys wake up and are back in the green cage, a volunteer opens the big door and they all run away.This next picture is in fact not of a deformed monkey, but a cat who lives at the hiking rest stop where the volunteers all met. It’s tail is naturally curly!Usually, there are more monkeys and the volunteers would travel from site to site working all day. But since it was so cloudy and drizzling, not many monkeys were out and about. The sun came out as we were leaving and on the drive down the hill. I saw tens, maybe even hundreds, of monkeys hanging out like they ruled the place. After the 5-year program is over, the government will continue to monitor the monkey population while waiting for all the baby monkeys to grow up.
There are way too many mismatched (as in one person is way better than the other) couples this year.
Top 20 Perform/2 Eliminated
Spender Liff Broadway
Nappytabs “After Party”
Top 17 perform
Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott Opening
Lindsay Nelko Contemporary
Sean Cheesman Jazz
Luther Brown’s “Go”
After having some dim sum with Alex’s grandma one day, we took a quick trip through Nan Lian Garden (南蓮園池) located in the Diamond Hill district. The garden and surrounding Buddhist temple complex (includes an active nunnery that was founded in 1934) was a project headed by the Hong Kong government and opened to the public in 2006. It’s currently run as a public park/museum/religious center.
This is actually one of the larger Chinese style gardens in the city and includes a gift shop, restaurant, and exhibition hall. While we were there, they had a small exhibit featuring miniature replicas of famous wooden buildings that were built during the Tang dynasty. This one is of the main hall of Nam Chan Monastery built in 782 AD in Shaanxi province. We totally didn’t take this snapshot while the guards weren’t looking. Shhhh.To the side of the garden is a Buddhist temple with halls filled with sculptures and shrines where people can come to pray. We ran out of camera battery at this point, so don’t have any photos of this section.This fun fountain is shaped like a lotus and each side features a different kind of sundial. However, it too overcast when we passed by it, so we couldn’t actually try using it.The garden’s design was based on blueprints of Jiangshouju, a Tang dynasty garden built around 596 AD. This particular garden had a strong water focus with small hills, plants, and rocks arranged to instill a sense of peacefulness and “leisure in the mind.” The garden grounds are currently managed by the Chi Lin Nunnery.
Since I’d been here before, my time in Hong Kong was spent a little differently from my time in the Philippines. Mostly, I just walked around and chatted, shopped, spent time with Alex’s family, and did other boring things. My next few posts will mostly be about specific things I did rather than full day recaps. In the meantime, check out some of the awesome food I ate!
I tried real Kobe beef for the first time at a mall food court and it was still amazing – so tender and flavorful. Hong Kong is the only place in the world where Kobe beef is imported from Japan in an unrestricted amount. Most meat sold as Kobe beef in the US is not real Kobe beef, but is actually a hybrid of a Kobe cow/bull with an American cow/bull FYI. Not the same thing, American beef industry.
The best vacations are ones spent eating delicious food.
On Day 2 after treating our sunburns from the day before, we headed out immediately after breakfast to Kawasan Falls, a famous waterfall in the area.We took a rented van from the resort to the hiking trail that led to the falls. On the drive, we passed through various farms, shacks, small towns, and jungle areas. At one point, we had to slow down to let some young cows (goats? Again, this trip was awhile ago) get out of the road.We hired a guide to walk with us and show us the way when we got to the hiking trail entrance. This is what the resort management told us to do. We thought this was mandatory. It wasn’t.So we had paid for the guide, paid the entry fee (locals don’t have to pay) and set out on the walk. Later we were met with more crazy fees like a fee to put our things on a table at the snack bar next to the waterfall, another to have a guide steer our raft under the water fall, etc.As we were leaving, we ran into another pair of tourists who were staying in a nearby town. They’d been here before, so they just rented a motorbike (about $1 USD/day), parked it outside, ran the trail, and dove right into the water. All they paid was the entry fee. They told us they were suckers the first time they came too.In total it wasn’t very expensive and the scenery was pretty nice, so we weren’t too upset. The waterfall on the other hand, wasn’t actually very impressive. The thing to do there is to lie face down on the raft and let the waterfall give you a massage while the raft passes underneath. As a person who dislikes both massages and being submerged under water, this was not fun.But we did see a coconut and some roosters sitting on sticks. Did you know roosters like sitting on sticks?This is me waiting for the rain to stop. It rained on and off the whole day.When we got back to the resort, we packed our stuff, checked out, and headed to the airport to fly back to Hong Kong. The car drove along the coast most of the way and the views were spectacular. I got to see the sunset one more time before leaving- very cool, but I was more than ready to head back to a city.
Baby animals! (pictured)
Rebecca has been blogging for six years.
Awesome DIY forest inspired bookends.
In kindergarten, I had to do a project where I had to glue 100 piece of macaroni to a piece of construction paper. Wendy’s 100th video has 100 outfit.