Happy Lunar New Year to all! According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the Year of the Monkey, and perhaps a good time for us to all play a part in helping our fellow primates.

In Singapore, many Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) troops live in areas that overlap with human use – whether it’s residential neighbourhoods along the forest edge, or public parks and nature trails within our forests. Conflict arises usually as a result of feeding of monkeys. Having become habituated, these monkeys often resort to raiding nearby homes and rubbish bins, and harassing people and snatching food from passers-by. In some cases, people get scratched or bitten. Many people also don’t know how to behave around monkeys, especially towards juveniles, and end up provoking the adults, resulting in people getting charged at and chased. Feeding of monkeys close to roads also leads to many instances of roadkills.

Complaints from the public lead to monkeys being trapped, removed, and euthanised, although culling is not an effective management strategy, since it doesn’t target specific “problem” individuals, but instead simply reduces the population, removing monkeys that likely weren’t causing much trouble in the first place.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can help monkeys by not feeding them, and stopping others from feeding. Avoid attracting their attention while hiking by not eating and drinking in their presence. Many monkeys have learnt that plastic bags often contain food, so conceal them. If your home is close to the forest and monkeys visit your neighbourhood, you can reduce raiding by installing window grilles and securing your bins. Don’t be that asshole who teases and harasses monkeys. If you’re walking your dog in the forest, keep it leashed and don’t let it chase monkeys. Slow down and look out for wildlife when you’re driving, especially if you’re on roads close to the forests.

Reducing human-wildlife conflict is as much about changing human behaviour and attitudes as it is about managing wildlife. Let’s make this a good year for our monkeys.

(Photo by Sabrina Jabbar)

Happy Lunar New Year everyone! Wishing all of you good health, fortune, prosperity, and happiness in the Year of the Goat/ Sheep/ other bovid ruminant from the subfamily Caprinae.

I don’t have any photos of dead goatfishes, and unlike other countries, we don’t have wild or domestic goats wandering our more rural areas, but I did take a photo of what I think were someone’s leftovers (possibly the remains from a meal of sup tulang, or mutton bone marrow soup). I knew I should have taken a photo of that butchered goat carcass I saw hanging above a roadside food stall while holidaying in Bali.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Good fortune, prosperity, and happiness to all, and in the midst of the celebrations and revelry, I hope everyone stays safe and avoids qualifying for an appearance on Monday Morgue.

According to the Chinese zodiac, it’s the Year of the Horse, but I don’t have any photos of dead horses, so here are some Hedgehog Seahorses (Hippocampus spinosissimus) instead.