Errant macaque at Segar Road: Other monkey incidents and what to do when you encounter wildlife

A monkey in the residential area of Segar Road in Bukit Panjang.
A monkey in the residential area of Segar Road in Bukit Panjang.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - Being a city in a garden means some Singapore residents live cheek by jowl with wild animals.

People who live near nature areas like the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve will often come across long-tailed macaques and other wildlife.

One monkey at Segar Road in Bukit Panjang has become a headache for residents there in recent months, even biting people.

Here's a quick guide on what to do when you come across wild animals and some other cases of human-monkey encounters.

Macaques


A baby macaque resting on a tree branch at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. PHOTO: ST FILE

Macaques are generally fearful of humans, but a small number become habituated and lose their fear.

Lone monkeys that are seen in urban areas have usually left their families upon reaching puberty to join another troop.

Due to increased urbanisation, they need to pass through built-up areas. They linger at urban areas where they find abundant human food.

 

They gradually lose their fear of humans and resort to aggressive behaviour when denied food.

"It is very important for residents to not take matters into their own hands because these animals are wild," says primate researcher Sabrina Jabbar.

SOME TIPS:

  • Call wildlife rescue group Acres or government agencies (below) for assistance
  •  Residents living near nature reserves or parks should close their windows and doors when they are not at home and dispose of waste regularly
  •  Never throw food towards the macaques or resort to taunting them as this will only aggravate the situation
  • Don't feed them as they will then associate humans with food

More Information here

 

Wild boars


Wild boars at the junction between Pasir Ris Drive 3 and Pasir Ris Farmway 1 on Jan 12, 2017. PHOTO: ST FILE

Wild animals, like boars, can be unpredictable to humans. Most people are unable to pick out signs indicating that the animal is feeling stressed or cornered.

It really is better to be safe than sorry and maintain your distance when encountering a wild boar.

SOME TIPS:

  • Wild boars attack only when they feel cornered and will chase only after they have started attacking
  • Leave them alone and watch them from a distance
  •  Going closer and/or feeding them can be dangerous
  •  Feeding them will also encourage their return to urban areas, and increase the chances of conflict

More information here

Pythons


A python, more than 2m long, appeared to be stuck in a drainage hole along the walls of the storm drain outside St 
Gabriel’s Primary School in Lorong Chuan on May 9, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

As with other wildlife, back away and do not approach the snake.

Pythons are non-venomous and the ones in Singapore rarely grow beyond 4m, so they are not big enough to swallow large prey or humans.

But like any other snake, they will strike and bite if they sense their safety is threatened.

SOME TIPS:

  • Call AVA hotline or Acres wildlife rescue hotline (below)
  • Do not try to restrain or handle the snake by yourself. Also avoid spraying or pouring any kind of chemical or insecticide on the snake to repel it.

More information here

YOU CAN CONTACT:

  •  National Parks Board on 1800-471-7300 (for wildlife in parks and nature reserves)
  •  Agri-Food &Veterinary Authority on 1800-476-1600 (for wildlife in urban / residential areas)
  • Acres (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) on 9783-7782

OTHER MONKEY ENCOUNTERS


Picture of a monkey taken at the residential area of Segar Road in Bukit Panjang. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Chippy @ Kent Ridge Park

When: August 2016

A wild macaque named Chippy was fed by members of the public and began hanging around Kent Ridge Park and Normanton Park condominium.

A resident, who wanted to be known only as Madam Prema, feared for the monkey's safety, and contacted a British monkey sanctuary to re-home the animal.

It made headlines when an online petition by the Wales Ape And Monkey Sanctuary amassed thousands of signatures.

But the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and National Parks Board (NParks) stepped in to rehabilitate Chippy and reintroduce it to the forest.

Boy attacked @ Changi Village

When: July 2013

A three-year-old boy was attacked by a monkey at a Changi Village playground.

The boy was about to go down the playground slide when a monkey suddenly jumped down from the trees.

Frightened, he started to cry. His mother shouted at him to run away.

But before he could react, the monkey attacked him, scratching his back till he bled.

The animal then jumped off the slide, but not before approaching the boy's sister who was siting alone nearby.

It was finally scared off by the boy's mother, who shouted at it and kicked off her slippers in its direction.

Finger bitten @ MacRitchie Reservoir Park

When: September 2012

Housewife Audrey Best, 35, had to have 13 stitches on one of her fingers after a monkey attack at the park.

She said this "freak accident" took place when she was on a boardwalk with her in-laws and had just walked past a baby monkey and four adult monkeys.

One of the monkeys then launched itself towards her face.

The monkey released her after her mother-in-law scared it off. She injured the last finger of her right hand in the attack.