Bangkok, Aug. 20--(AP) Authorities are planning to sterilize male monkeys who live around a hilltop monastery as the growing primate population has become a menace to residents, officials said Tuesday.

The monkeys are largely peaceful during weekends when fed by pilgrims to the Buddhist monastery in the town of Khao Chongkrajok, said Kiti Patarachareon, a local government official. But on weekdays the monkeys ransack homes, offices and shops looking for food, he said. Kiti said the monkey population has grown from a few dozen some 40 years ago to about 1,000 now.

The Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand conducted a trial vasectomy on two males, who will be kept under observation for two weeks before the sterilization program is launched, said Pornpen Paykaporn of the foundation. About 100 adult males will be sterilized, she said. The provincial government had earlier proposed relocating the monkeys but "we didn't know where to send them," she said.

The town is in Prachuab Khirikhan province, about 230 kilometers (145 miles) south of Bangkok

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