Long-tailed macaques of Bali have learned to steal high-value goods from tourists

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/20/long-tailed-macaques-of-bali-have-learned-to-steal-high-value-goods-from-tourists.html


Welp, I guess I’m moving to Bali to train a band of macaques to thieve for me, and me only. Eventually there’ll be dueling gangs; I get out alive and sell my story to Netflix. Now i just need a GoFundMe for my trip to Bali.


“These behaviours are socially learned and have been maintained across generations of monkeys for at least 30 years in this population.”

In other words, monkey see, monkey do.

Whereas Scooby-do doesn’t do. He’s called Scooby-do but he doesn’t do.

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REDMOND, WA (AP) – September 22, 2029

Microsoft confirmed today that the devastating ransomware known as “Mahaque” has been traced to servers owned by a tribe of Balinese long-tailed macaques. The animals purchased the servers legally in 2025 with the proceeds from stolen cameras and phones, but were not regarded as a serious cybersecurity threat until recently.

The Mahaque virus, which is spread through corrupted .jpg images of the macaques themselves, encrypts files and sends victims to a payment site for the decryption key. It appears to preferentially attack hospitals and municipal computers, as these critical services are more likely to pay ransoms.

A spokesmonkey refused to comment for this article unless it was given three mangoes.


Monkeys are naturals at stealing things. We lost a tube of steroid cream to a monkey at the Tambun caves in Ipoh. No chance of getting it back. Hope the contents weren’t to bad on the animal. Next time we went back there were no monkeys there.


My wife and I watched young Buddhist monks using macagues as slingshot target practice in monkey-controlled Mt Popa. Without natural predators - their numbers quickly get out of control and move them from ‘awe so cute’ to ‘nuisance’ status very quickly.


As I recall, this behavior led to the death of the organ grinder profession, as some trained their monkeys to go in open windows and take shiny stuff. I think that’s why they were banned in many jurisdictions.


Great. First COVID crossed species and now capitalism got ideas and is becoming cross-species contagious too.


I really don’t want to know what steps those were.

Also why? I mean if you want to study their economic behaviour, well there it is. Study it. The linked article says some rubbish about not wanting the lab to become a monkey brothel without explaining why being a monkey prison with commissary is ok but a brothel isn’t.


If this doesn’t prove that prostitution is “the oldest profession”, nothing will.


A common phenomenon, and another great example of "hmmm… we kind of forgot the point when we formalized the rituals…


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