Monkey taskforce a good move

I am heartened by Singapore's efforts to promote a greater understanding of macaques and how to deal with conflicts between them and humans, through the establishment of an interdisciplinary panel (Expert panel set up to develop SOP for monkey problems; Oct 22).

Between January and September this year, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) received 1,170 reports on monkeys, up from 770 reports in 2014.

Given the increasing number of human-macaque conflicts, the formation of such a taskforce is timely and essential.

A recent study by the National University of Singapore posited that culling is unsustainable and alternative approaches should be taken, with wildlife conservation in mind.

No organisation or agency has the complete set of competencies to single-handedly overcome this problem.

Thus, I applaud the Government's commitment in bringing together various stakeholders, such as statutory boards, academics and even civil societies to obtain holistic and balanced perspectives.

Such interdisciplinary partnerships have the benefit of inculcating greater community ownership and reducing overlaps in efforts.

A common misconception by the public is that macaques are pests and intentionally cause harm.

As members of the public, we need to play our part by not luring these macaques with the false pretence of readily available food, and prevent them from being habituated to humans.

Germaine Thong (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2017, with the headline 'Monkey taskforce a good move'. Print Edition | Subscribe