Loei’s Remaining Leaf Monkeys Live Out Days at Temple

LOEI — One particular species of monkeys has found their last haven in a temple.

Years of deforestation have left only 100 to 120 endangered Phayre’s leaf monkeys in Loei province, almost all of which now live in one place – Wat Tham Pha Pu.

They fled the shrinking forests to forage for food offerings at the temple and settled in the branches on the grounds as dry season depletes their food sources in the wild.

“I see them every day when I come to work, especially the mothers with the black fur cuddling their babies with the golden fur,” said Som Prasan, a construction worker at the temple. “They’re never still. They always eat the bananas I bring them. The small ones are so cute.”

The Phayre’s leaf monkey, rated endangered on the IUCN Red List, is found in Burma and Thailand’s north. It is not to be confused with the dusky leaf monkey, a similar species found in Thailand’s south.