SINGAPORE - The Straits Times reported on Oct 23 that wildlife rescue group Acres has proposed to the authorities a method of dealing with the monkey problem in residential areas.
Called monkey herding, it involves stationing a specially trained guard at a hot spot to shoo monkeys away from residential areas. The guard may tap a stick, an umbrella or a net on the ground.
Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) says it has conducted studies on the herding method for a year, with promising results from its trials conducted earlier this year.
Monkey sightings and incidents
Click on the icons to read about the incident in each area.
STRAITS TIMES GRAPHIC: LIN ZHAOWEI
We look at some of the monkey hot spots in Singapore.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Bukit Timah
When: December 2010
Residents living at the terrace houses off Jalan Jurong Kechil, next to the Bukit Batok Nature Park, complained that they had a primate problem.
They said monkeys were paying them unwelcome visits, leaving dirty fingerprints in their homes, stealing papayas from their gardens and even staring at their maids when they were cooking.
As a result, these residents said they were forced to keep their doors and windows closed even when they were at home.
When: April 2013
Following a rising number of monkey-related complaints by Bukit Timah condominium residents, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority carried out "monkey control operations" in the area.
The primates were said to have broken into kitchens, knocked over flower pots while fleeing, and hogged overhead bridges around the condominiums near to the nature reserve.
AVA said monkeys are relocated elsewhere whenever possible, and the rest euthanised.
Housewife Vicky Chong, 49, noticed that the rubbish bins at a bus stop along Upper Bukit Timah Road and the carpark of Bukit Batok Nature Park had litter strewn all over them and reported this to the National Environment Agency. The culprits were monkeys who ransack the bins.
For a few months from late 2010 to early 2011, a pair of macaques were seen making weekly forays from a nearby jungle to a residential area along Montreal Drive in Sembawang.
The mischievous pair would brazenly swipe loaves of bread and peanut packs from a provision shop's racks.
Residents said monkey sightings in Sembawang are common because large parts of the area are still forested.
5. Upper Thomson
When: November 2012
The police went to the rescue of a woman after a monkey broke into her house and became aggressive.
"The monkey suddenly turned around and bared its fangs. It looked as though it was going to pounce at me and attack," said the woman, who gave her name only as Madam Deng, in a Straits Times report of this incident.
As the monkey was becoming aggressive, Madam Deng ran upstairs to her bedroom and locked herself in before calling the police for help.
Three policemen arrived at the scene, armed with batons. One of them also carried a shield.
They chased the monkey to a nearby children's playground, where they lost track of it.
The monkey left Madam Deng's home in a mess: It tipped over her trash, clawed apart soft toys and ripped the plastic parts off a door.
Others residents in the area said they sighted monkeys in the area too that smashed their flower pots, gnawed through water containers, upset pots of plants and stole fruit from the trees they planted.
Those who lived along Upper Thomson Road close to the fringe of the forested area near the Lower and Upper Peirce reservoirs were reported as saying in November 2012 that they have gotten used to living with the monkeys.
Other areas where monkeys have been spotted in Singapore
Marsiling, Bukit Panjang, Bedok, Loyang, Telok Blangah
Number of monkey-related complaints filed:
- 2008: 600
- 2010: 1,200
- 2011: 730
- 2012: 920
- 2013: 1,860
- 2014 (until October, figures from AVA): 520
Number of monkeys culled:
2013: 570 monkeys, or nearly one-third of the estimated 1,800-strong local population
2014 (until October): 150 monkeys
Useful information for the public
- National Parks Board (looks into queries on macaques in parks and nature reserves)
- AVA (looks into monkey complaints in residential areas)
The public can call AVA on 1800-476-1600 to find out more about the loan of monkey traps.
- Acres (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society)
In 2013, Acres launches a Macaque Rescue Team that responds to calls made to its 24-hour Wildlife Rescue Hotline on 9783-7782.
Its two-person team will arrive within three hours after the call is made, and will assist residents with any human-macaque conflict issues - such as herding monkeys back to the reserves. It also carries out public education campaigns.