Forum: Teach residents monkey guarding skills to protect own homes from wildlife

I refer to the report, "Some residents of Clementi and Punggol learning to coexist with monkeys" (July 24).

It is highly encouraging that some residents are willing to take a step towards coexistence with long-tailed macaques by shifting their mindset and changing their behaviour.

What's even more encouraging is that National Parks Board officers will be conducting monkey guarding exercises to move the animals away from residential areas.

Monkey guarding is the practice of blocking the approach of the macaques and guiding them back into forested areas. It is labour-intensive and must be done consistently to be truly effective in conditioning the monkeys to adhere to the boundaries.

Perhaps residents of these estates should be trained in monkey guarding skills by organisations such as the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society. They can then guard their own homes. If enough residents know how to do this, it could prove effective.

Another area to look into is the easy availability of human food, which attracts monkeys to linger in these neighbourhoods. Direct or indirect feeding could be taking place.

Residents should be vigilant during the times that the monkeys usually appear and keep food out of sight, for example inside kitchen cupboards instead of on the counter.

When food is not easily found in homes, the monkeys will gradually learn that it is not worth scaling a block to look for food.

However, there are still those who fear these monkeys and want them to be relocated. I hope these people will learn to share spaces with the native wildlife.

Long-tailed macaques are classified as endangered globally and it is important that they are protected.

Toh Yen-Lin

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