Feeding monkeys the cause of all that aggression

Straits Times Forum 11 Dec 09;

I REFER to Monday's Forum Online letter by Mr Timothy Chow, 'MacRitchie monkeys getting bolder'.

The aggressive behaviour of monkeys is the outcome of feeding by irresponsible members of the public. Feeding monkeys alters their natural behaviour, and makes them too familiar with humans. As a result, some monkeys become a nuisance, even to those who do not feed them.

Monkey feeding unfortunately persists despite strict regulations and enforcement prohibiting monkey feeding in parks and nature reserves. Last month alone, we caught 24 monkey feeders and they were fined $500 each. Most members of the public are aware of the harm done by monkey feeding, and support tough enforcement in this area.

Should anyone encounter monkeys in their estate, please do not feed them or eat in front of them. Avoid eye contact with the monkeys, and walk away. Let the monkeys return to their natural habitat to forage.

Ang Chiean Hong
Assistant Director
National Parks Board

MacRitchie monkeys getting bolder
Straits Times 7 Dec 09;

THE monkeys at MacRitchie Reservoir have grown increasingly bold. Park regulars will be familiar with the sight of them sitting across footpaths, oblivious to the presence of humans.

They also target park users with food, and I have had more than a dozen monkeys swarming around and following me as I munched an apple. I have also seen the swiftness with which they open zipper- and velcro-secured bags and backpacks to rummage for food when the owners are not attentive.

This photo shows a monkey sitting on an overhead bridge in front of Shunfu estate along Upper Thomson Road. Presumably, it must have made its way there from MacRitchie Reservoir, which is a fair distance away.

I am concerned that the monkeys have grown too territorial, and was surprised to see one this far from the park. A young child eating a snack as he crosses the overhead bridge may unwittingly present himself as a target for a vicious attack by a monkey.

I am also worried that monkeys may be carriers of some future strain of influenza or other contagious diseases. I urge the authorities to look into ways to control these clever creatures before they turn into a nightmare for park users.

Timothy Chow