Culling doesn't tackle root of monkey problem

Straits Times Forum 25 Oct 13;

MR HAN Cheng Fong expressed concerns over the aggressiveness of macaques and recommended culling as a solution ("Do more to curb monkey population"; Wednesday).

While the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) understands his concerns, the reality is that culling is not an effective solution and also does not address the root of the problem.

The root of the problem is the readily available food sources in human areas.

In addition, the reality is that macaques are opportunistic animals which naturally live on the edge of the forest rather than deep in the forest. We have now built our houses on their natural habitat and as such, there will undoubtedly be an increase in human-macaque interactions.

It is, however, possible to co-exist with the macaques. Steps must be taken to actively manage the interactions between the macaques and humans, and residents must also take active steps to ensure that there is no readily available food source in their property.

Acres has now embarked on an awareness programme to create the much-needed awareness on how to interpret macaque behaviours and understand their language. This will undoubtedly help to reduce the aggressive interactions between the macaques and humans.

There is currently no need to curb Singapore's monkey population as there is no evidence indicating that there is an overpopulation of macaques here.

Culling is not endorsed internationally and is an unethical practice. This year, Gibraltar stopped culling its macaques and is now focusing on public education and legal enforcement against people who feed the macaques.

The key to resolving the human-macaque conflict is to learn to co-exist with the macaques.

We share residents' concerns about the current conflicts and Acres has recently established a Macaque Rescue Team to assist residents with any human-macaque conflict issues and also embark on public education campaigns. Members of the public can call our hotline on 9783-7782.

See Han Sern
Campaign Executive

Practical solution needed for monkey problem
Straits Times Forum 25 Oct 13;

I SHARE Mr Han Cheng Fong's concern on the monkey situation in Singapore ("Do more to curb monkey population"; Wednesday).

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority placed a monkey trap in our housing estate when my family member alerted it to a troop of monkeys plaguing our estate, although it is very far from forested areas.

The trap did not work as the monkeys have learnt to avoid such traps.

They move in packs and use overhead cables to enter the estate. They rummage through the closed disposal bins, creating a mess.

Once last month, I came face to face with two monkeys in the kitchen. They had come in through the narrow window grille. They opened the refrigerator and took the fruit drinks and fruits. They dirtied the kitchen and left faecal droppings behind.

Something constructive and practical needs to be done by animal activists and interested monkey researchers to tackle the real monkey problem in Singapore.

These monkeys need to be lured back to their natural habitat.

Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)