Monthly Archives: July 2013

20% of monkey population exterminated in half a year, is this the way to go?

The figures are out, AVA has killed 357 macaques in the first half of 2013, almost 20% of our local macaque population in just half a year.


Click here for the full article.

According to the AVA, the increase in culling was done in response to increased reporting of monkey nuisances. The unprecedented number of monkeys culled however, appears to go beyond conflict management or even population control. With no checks that trappers are only removing nuisance animals, and with no regulations on the number of animals removed, it seems that the strategy AVA is going for is extermination. Extermination of a native primate species, and an important member of Singapore’s biodiversity.

Defendants of culling have been quick to point out that public safety is of utmost concern, and I fully agree. What I am saying though, is that public servants’ goals of ensuring public safety and the appeal for sustainable management strategies by researchers and animal welfare groups are not at odds, but are in fact one and the same.

Does killing monkeys indiscriminately really serve to protect public safety? Does killing address the root causes of human-wildlife conflict? Will killing bring about long-term and sustained benefits to residents? What else can be done, and why are these solutions better? Continue reading


Sharing a birthday with the Royal Baby

The Royal Baby wasn’t the only one born on the 22nd of July 2013. Laney, a young female from the Hindhede group of macaques gave birth to her first born!

She seemed unsure of what to do with the umbilical cord (still attached!), which isn’t surprising since this is her first child.

I haven’t seen enough births to know how more experienced mums deal with post-birth stuff. Macaques usually have their babies before sunrise, so it’s almost impossible to witness.

First time mums often abandon their babies or fail to take care of them appropriately (think of human teen pregnancies), resulting in a high mortality rate for these first-borns.

Here’s wishing this little one the best of luck. I will name it as soon as I figure out if its a boy or girl. It’s name will start with L, same as its mummy.

a personal touch and the Kampong spirit

Over the weekend Louis Ng,  Dr Uma (both from ACRES) and I attended to macaque related calls from residents of Punggol 17th Avenue.

Punggol 17th

I was apprehensive about trying to reason with these residents, i’ve had my fair share of unreasonable Bukit Timah residents, and these Punggol residents aren’t even those who chose to live near a nature reserve. I prepared myself for the worst, but it turned out more pleasant than expected…
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conversation with a resident went something like this…

Resident: look that one got baby! quite cute ah. [takes pictures]

Me: Yea! Actually she just gave birth this morning, you can still see the umbilical cord. That’s actually her first baby too..

Resident: Wah how you know!

Me: Oh we’ve been studying this group for a few years now so we know each individual and have names for all of them..

Resident: You do this like a volunteer?

Me: Something like that.. actually i’m doing my PhD on macaques

Resident: [cuts in] Huh what macaques?

Me: These are macaques!

Resident: You mean the monkey’s name?

Me: The species of monkey.. these are long-tailed macaques..

We definitely need to step up education and awareness raising efforts!

Illegal trapping and unethical practices by AVA contractors

On the 16th of July 2013, I encountered AVA-contracted trappers attempting to trap illegally on Nparks land, and unethically in the surrounds of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve:


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