NParks clamps down on those who feed monkeys in parks

Channel NewsAsia 31 Jan 08;

SINGAPORE: From next month, the fine imposed on those who feed monkeys in parks will be upped from the current S$250 to S$500.

The National Parks Board (NParks) said the number of people being fined has been on the rise since 2006.

The problem with monkey feeding is that it makes the animals reliant on humans for food. And when they become too familiar with humans, the monkeys can sometimes get aggressive.

Feeding them may also result in an unhealthy growth of the monkey population, and some may stray out of nature reserves into residential areas. When that happens, they would often have to be culled.

NParks said it realises enforcement is not the only way to solve the problem, so it has tried educating the public by putting up signs and distributing pamphlets.

Unfortunately, there is a persistent minority that continues to feed the primates.

Under the Parks & Trees Act, monkey feeders can be fined up to a maximum of S$50,000 and/or jailed up to six months.- CNA/so

Feed a monkey, pay twice the money
Today Online 1 Feb 08;

YOU can call it the monkey on NParks' back — literally.

NParks, or the National Parks Board, is doubling its composition fine on those who feed wild monkeys in parks and nature reserves to $500, effective today. It hopes the higher fine will deter what it calls a "growing minority" that still persists in feeding the monkeys.

Last year, 157 people were fined, up from 142 in 2006.

Earlier this month, former zookeeper A Panneerselvam was slapped with a $4,000 fine for feeding monkeys in a nature reserve. It was the highest fine on record for such an offence, imposed after he failed to pay the original $250 fine, The New Paper reported.

Under the Parks and Trees Act, monkey feeders can be fined up to $50,000 and jailed up to six months.

Besides tougher enforcement measures, NParks hopes to educate the public by conducting outreach programmes, putting up signage and distributing pamphlets to explain the undesirable consequences of monkey feeding.

The board says feeding monkeys adversely alters the natural behaviour of monkeys as it makes them reliant on humans for food. Such monkeys become too familiar with humans and this results in their becoming a nuisance to people. The monkeys may even become aggressive at times, especially to children.

Monkey feeding also results in the unhealthy growth of their population in the wild, and monkeys straying out of nature reserves into residential areas.

They often have to be culled for this reason, NParks says, underlining the severity of the problem.

Feeding monkeys? Fine doubled to $500
Arti Mulchand, Straits Times 1 Feb 08;

Primates in nature reserves are attacking people for food; more visitors also being fined for disobeying law

FEED the monkeys in the nature reserves and you could find yourself $500 poorer.

The National Parks Board (NParks) has doubled the fine to deter people from giving food to the primates.

The higher fine takes effect today.

NParks has put officers on patrol to catch culprits red-handed, and installed closed-circuit television cameras to act as extra 'eyes'.

The doubling of the fine from $250 follows reports of these monkeys attacking people for food after becoming used to being fed and getting too familiar with humans.

In December, a pregnant housewife and her toddler were set upon by a troop of long-tailed macaques when she pulled out a pancake-filled box from her bag at MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

People have generally paid little heed to signs asking park visitors not to feed the monkeys, and reports about these animals' aggressive behaviour when food is around.

Even the prospect of being fined $250 failed to curb the monkey feeders: Last year, 157 people were fined, up from 142 in 2006.

Monkey feeders who do not pay the fine can be hauled to court, and fined up to $50,000 and jailed up to six months.

The highest fine meted out so far was $4,000, to former zoo worker A. Panneerselvam, who failed to pay the the initial $250 fine.

Monkey feeding not only puts people in danger of the animals' aggressive behaviour but also puts the monkeys at risk.

When food is plentiful, the monkeys multiply.

And instead of hunting for their own food, they stray out of the reserves into residential areas.

When the complaints come, the animals have to be culled.

NParks said it regrets having to get tough.

Its spokesman said: 'We are concerned that if monkey feeding is not curbed, it can result in more serious monkey-nuisance problems that will be difficult to get under control.'

Tougher Measure Against Monkey Feeding
NParks press release 31 Jan 08;

NParks to raise its composition fine to deter monkey feeding in parks and nature reserves

Singapore, 31 January 2008 With effect from 1 February 2008, the National Parks Board (NParks) will raise its composition fine on monkey feeders from $250 to $500. The increase in composition fine is part of the ongoing efforts to help curb issues relating to nuisance monkeys in our urban environment.
Monkey feeding endangers both humans and monkeys. It adversely alters the natural behaviour of monkeys as it makes them reliant on humans for food. Such monkeys become too familiar with humans and this results in their nuisance and at times aggressive behaviour towards people, especially children. Monkey feeding also results in an unhealthy growth of monkey population, and monkeys straying out of the nature reserves into residential areas. Sadly, monkeys often have to be culled for this reason.

NParks does not believe that enforcement is the only way to curb the monkey feeding problem. We also conduct educational outreach programmes, put up signage and distribute pamphlets to explain the consequences of monkey feeding, and why it is an offence. CCTVs have also been installed at selected spots at our nature reserves to deter monkey feeding. In addition, we monkey-proof dustbins in residential areas near our nature reserves.

However, while the bulk of the population responds very responsibly to these educational messages, there is a growing minority that still persists in feeding monkeys. In 2006, a total of 142 people have been fined for feeding monkeys. The figure continues to rise in 2007, with a total of 157 people fined. The last increase in composition fine was in May 2007 from $200 to $250. Under the Parks and Trees Act, monkey feeders can be fined up to a maximum of $50,000 and/or jailed up to six months. We will continue to step up raids on monkey feeders in the parks and nature reserves and if necessary, enlist the assistance of security companies to supplement our own efforts.

NParks regrets that we have to resort to tougher enforcement measures against monkey feeding. We are concerned that if monkey feeding is not curbed effectively now, it can result in more serious monkey nuisance problems that are difficult to put under control. We hope to have the understanding and cooperation of the public in this matter. The best way to care for monkeys is not to feed them or to report monkey feeders (1800-471-7300) when you spot them.


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