Forum: NParks herding monkeys back towards forested areas

We thank Mr Lee Joo Mong for his feedback (Harassment by monkeys, May 29).

The National Parks Board (NParks) is aware of the presence of monkeys along the Lorong Halus Park Connector and Old Upper Thomson Road.

Monkeys have ample food sources in their natural habitats, and do not require food from humans to survive.

Human-monkey issues often arise when the animals are attracted by easy access to human food or are fed by members of the public.

In the two cases Mr Lee highlighted, the monkeys have become accustomed to humans feeding them and are thus spending more time in these areas.

Feeding the monkeys alters their natural behaviour and makes them associate humans with food. This may eventually lead to the display of assertive behaviour by the monkeys, such as grabbing plastic bags and food containers from people.

Also, the health of the monkeys would be adversely affected by the consumption of human food.

The Long-tailed Macaque Working Group, made up of academics, non-governmental organisations, NParks and other agencies, is working towards educating the public at known feeding hot spots on the ill effects of feeding wildlife such as long-tailed macaques.

NParks is carrying out monkey guarding along the Lorong Halus Park Connector. This entails blocking the approach of monkeys and herding them away from residential areas and towards the forested areas.

We will continue to monitor the troop of monkeys along the forest fringe in Old Upper Thomson Road.

We have also put up notices in the areas Mr Lee cited to inform visitors to refrain from feeding wildlife, including monkeys.

While we continue to monitor both troops of monkeys, we are also keeping a lookout for instances of monkey feeding.

Under the new Wildlife Act, which came into effect yesterday, anyone caught feeding monkeys is liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000 for a first offence, and a fine not exceeding $10,000 for a second or subsequent offence.

How Choon Beng

Director, Wildlife Management and Outreach

National Parks Board