The last thing you expect to find in a city park is a troop of Japanese macaques. Launceston City Park has been home to a few different beasts over the years, from thylacines to brown bear and deer. It was home to a group of Rhesus monkeys from the late 1800s until the last one died in 1979. The council wanted to continue the monkey tradition and, after much research, decided the Japanese macaque is best suited to the Tasmanian climate. A fitting choice, as Ikeda City in Japan became a sister city with Launceston in 1965. The enclosure reflects the natural environment of the monkeys with plenty to keep them occupied as well as a much loved swimming pool.
Time slipped away as we watched, mesmerised, these gorgeous creatures and their antics. Some sat quietly, contemplating
while others were in the mood to play.
Japanese macaques are omnivorous, although their diet here is quite different to that in the wild. Their menu includes barbecue chicken, scrambled eggs and honey sandwiches as well as fruit and vegetables. Some were intently picking through the mulch, probably looking for treats of dog biscuits and bird seed that had been hidden there.
There was much grooming going on, a way of maintaining social bonds
but it wasn’t going to interrupt breakfast for this youngster.
The babies are adorable,
some stayed close to mum.
Relaxing peacefully in the sunshine was enough for others on this beautiful Sunday morning.
I wonder whether the monkeys wait each day for the human exhibit to arrive?