Agung Watch 2017: Monkeys and snakes seen coming down the Bali volcano

A monkey sits before Mt. Agung. Photo: Flickr
A monkey sits before Mt. Agung. Photo: Flickr

Monkeys and snakes have been spotted coming down from Mt. Agung, the Bali volcano that’s been acting up and is currently on standby for a possible eruption.

You know things are getting serious once the animals start getting the heck out of there.

Snakes and monkeys have been increasingly creeping into residential areas for the past three days around the volcano, Sogra Village elder and Balinese priest, Wayan Sukra said on Friday.

“Maybe because it’s hot on Mt. Agung. So the animals are exiting and coming to settled areas,” Sukra said, as quoted by Tribun Bali.

The elder said that wild animals similarly descended the mountain prior to Agung’s last eruption in 1963.

ALSO READ 11 of Indonesia’s most dangerous volcanoes throughout history

“Animals that are coming down, there still aren’t that many, they can still be counted. Most of them have gone down to Pura Pasar Agung,” Sukra said.

“Maybe this is a sign. A sign that the mountain will erupt. This not normal,” the priest said.

Agung, the highest peak on the island, holds a special place in the hearts of Balinese. The volcano is regarded as sacred and is often the site of religious ceremonies. Balinese Hindus have been holding ceremonies in the hopes of preventing a catastrophic eruption, while Muslims on the island have been praying for the same outcome. 

At least 1,300 villagers around Mt. Agung had already evacuated as of Thursday. Sukra says he’ll be joining them.

Agung has been placed on a level III alert status since Monday.

Volcanic activity is still high, says head of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG), Kasbani. On Thursday, it was reported that magma began to rise to surface of the volcano crater.

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