By Audrey Tan
17th May 2018;
A young monkey was found dead near private houses in Lentor on Thursday morning (May 17), the latest in a string of cases involving human-wildlife conflict.
The Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) was found lying in a large makeshift cage by a resident of the area, who then contacted wildlife rescue group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres).
“We arrived at about 9.15am to find a young Long-tailed Macaque dead with ants on her face,” said Acres deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal.
The cause of death was not immediately clear.
But the incident has raised questions over the processes involved in dealing with animals considered a nuisance to humans.
One issue, for example, is how often contractors check traps for ensnared animals, so that an animal does not suffer too long in the cage.
Mr Louis Ng, Acres chief executive and MP for Nee Soon GRC said: “The monkey should not have died this way and the contractor who trapped the monkey should be investigated thoroughly and brought to task.”
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said it is investigating the case. “We have suspended the contractor while investigations are ongoing,” said the AVA spokesman.
She added that the agency would not hesitate to take strong enforcement action against the contractor if it finds any wrongdoing.
The area where the incident occured is located next to a construction site where a secondary forest used to exist. Works are underway to build private housing in the area.
To save the animals that once lived in the forest, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in 2016 embarked on a novel wildlife management plan. This involves gradually clearing the land so that animals are herded to nearby green areas, such as the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
The AVA said it has received feedback from residents and the Neighbourhood Committee at Munshi Abdullah Walk area about a troop of monkeys in the neighbourhood.
Residents had expressed concerns over public safety, said the spokesman.
“AVA conducted surveillance and assessed that the monkeys pose a public safety threat. As such, AVA activated our contractor to conduct trapping operations in the area,” said the AVA.
Ms Boopal said removal should not be the first solution, if the surrounding areas remain suitable habitats for macaques. She urged residents to learn to coexist with wildlife.
“This could be done, for instance, by not feeding the animals or leaving food out, providing less of an incentive for macaques to be around”.