I have never had to take monkeys into consideration when gardening before.
I am at this jungle-like Raxa Collective property in Thekkady, India. I am here to work as an intern to help with creating a more farm-to-table relationship in the restaurant at Cardamom County. There is an organic garden here that is already providing the restaurant with a decent percentage of their staple foods. However, we face a little problem with some main ingredients such as tomatoes, eggplants, and actually anything sweet that we might like to grow such as grapes or pomegranates.
The ones most frequently on the property, as well as the most mischievous, are Bonnet Macaques. They are known to take their own share of the harvest.
Fair or not fair?
This is their habitat first, that we have come and cultivated. We are guests in their ecosystem. Fortunately, Cardamom County cooperates in such a way that it does not disturb their habitat too much, so their presence is a sign of conservation success.
We want to provide the kitchen with its staple ingredients though! So, we must be more clever than the monkeys. Actually, by law, we cannot just net off the whole garden because that would disrupt their corridors for jumping from tree to ground to tree as they please. I am glad to know that there is protection for animal corridors!
Our idea is then to try using a nylon net over a small area sectioned off for the sought after treasures, which potentially includes tomatoes, eggplant, grapes, and pomegranates.
We shall see how that goes…