Monkey trouble? Build homes away from our forests

Heng Cho Choon Today Online 29 Nov 13;

The suggestion to “Plant more fruit trees in forests to keep monkeys away” (Nov 28) would not ameliorate the problem of monkeys encroaching on human property. Instead, more people would go searching for fruits during fruiting seasons and on weekends.

I have seen this happening in Bukit Batok Nature Park and the forest at Rifle Range Road. People invariably trample on the undergrowth, eventually causing soil erosion. Some even camp overnight to wait for durians to drop.

The authorities should be more discerning in granting permits when developers submit their building plans.

At Hindhede Drive, several condominiums are built so close to the nature reserve that residents are troubled by monkeys and snakes on the premises.

My friend who lives at Swiss Club Road also bemoans the unwanted visitors to his bungalow premises. Monkeys invade his garden to feast on bananas, squirrels gnaw at his wires and civet cats devoured the koi in his pond.

Human dwellings should be built far from the forests to minimise human-animal conflicts.

There should also be heavier penalties for those caught poaching in forests, as it is not easy for the National Parks Board to monitor every nature park and the park connector network.

Limited land means not all homes can be far from forests
Thomas Lee Chee Chee Today Online 30 Nov 13;

In our land-scarce island, there is little opportunity to only build homes away from forested areas. (“Monkey trouble? Build homes away from our forests”; Nov 29)

Even if houses are far from forested areas, monkeys would go looking for food when they cannot find enough in the forest. This is natural. Have we not heard of wild boars swimming from Johor to Pulau Tekong to look for food?

I was not suggesting, in “Plant more fruit trees in forests to keep monkeys away” (Nov 28), trees with tempting fruit like the durian. People might fight over durians, but I have not heard of monkeys doing so.

Many fruit trees, not only papaya and banana, can attract monkeys, and we would not eat the fruits or seeds from those trees. The experts could decide on suitable types. As to people intruding into our forests, that is a different follow-up matter for the authorities.

In short, I think my suggestion is perhaps the closest to pleasing most parties.