This past Tuesday, October 25th, 2022, the Student Association members recruited an expert monkey-tour guide, Ms. Lin Mei Yin（林美吟), well known as the Queen of Monkeys, to educate students about the monkeys’ lifestyle and their environment. This unique experience occurred at a beautiful hiking trail in Shoushan, the lively nature near campus. Twenty-five people participated, including nineteen degree and exchange students, two Belgian professors, three student association members, and a skillful photographer.
It is aimed at understanding the ecology of Taiwan macaques and learning how to get along with and react to them since it is not rare to see the monkeys in our campus Throughout the entire trail, the tour guide conducted the tour in Chinese. In this matter, an interpreter assisted her in translating everything into English so that international students understood better what was being shared. Ms. Lin led participants closer to the monkey habitat and explained how these monkeys and people coexist. Her knowledge about these communities is immense and fruitful since she has studied monkeys for over 20 years. Monkeys are so familiarized with her to the point that they can recognize her voice and arrive at her calling. Therefore, she had a lot of knowledge about monkeys’ lifestyles, feeding conditions, and sexual life, detailing how their bottoms get redder as they become ready to mate.
Curiously, monkeys are an essential part of the environment at National Sun Yat-Sen University. However, in many cases, monkeys are known for threatening people because they tend to interfere with students’ daily activities by constantly harassing them around the dormitories, as well as stealing food on campus. Due to the lack of understanding of monkeys, students have prejudice against them. Nevertheless, this monkey tour made students realize that these animals are valuable to the planet and belong here. We should all learn to coexist with them in peace since this planet has no sole owner.
In addition, during the tour, students followed the principles of two Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations. The first one includes goal #3, Good Health and Well-being, where students exercised through hiking and kept hydrated. The second was goal #5, Life on Land, where students enjoyed nature and interacted harmoniously with monkeys and their environment. Students were reminded of the importance of following these goals and were encouraged to continue applying them in their daily lives.
The event was a total success. Students took plenty of pictures and selfies with monkeys. They felt joyful watching how they interacted, gathering into family groups where the females cared for their babies, and the males were more intimidating and ferocious. Students gained better understanding and could be more open-minded to get along with these creatures after the tour. The student association felt warm-hearted as participants felt satisfied with the tour and showed greater respect for the monkeys.