More signs needed to remind people not to feed monkeys

Recently, while I was on the TreeTop Walk trail at MacRitchie Reservoir, it became apparent that the warnings not to feed the monkeys at our nature reserves are not being heeded.

At the Ranger Station, a monkey tried a few times to grab snacks from a boy, whereupon an adult who was with him struck it with an umbrella.

I also saw a man taking pictures of a monkey taking food from a plastic bag on the ground.

At one of the huts, there was a picnic party in full swing, with monkeys prowling nearby. From the people's accents, I surmised that most of them are probably not Singapore residents.

Though there are signs at the entrances describing the etiquette to be observed on the trails, I doubt many people bother to read them, as they are quite wordy.

Moreover, the signs are only in English, thus rendering them meaningless to tourists who are not conversant in it.

I suggest more signs, preferably pictorial ones, be put up at the rest areas to remind people not to feed the monkeys, with the possible imposition of a fine.

People should also be warned that carrying food and eating along the trails may attract unwanted attention from the monkeys.

Perhaps more rangers should be deployed along trails, especially at the main Ranger Station where many people take a rest, to monitor for any flouting of rules.

Care should also be taken when taking pictures of the monkeys, as the animals can turn menacing.

Cameras used to take pictures should be silent, and eye contact should not be made with the monkeys.

Maria Loh Mun Foong (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'More signs needed to remind people not to feed monkeys'. Print Edition | Subscribe