Hold off on culling monkeys

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Hold Off on Culling Monkeys

LONG-TAILED macaques are part of Singapore’s native wildlife and must be managed in a well-informed manner (“AVA moves to control monkey problem”; Monday).

Increasingly, houses have been built near nature reserves, encroaching onto the home ranges of macaques who prefer using the forest edge and surrounding areas. Residents can take steps to live responsibly with wildlife.

I have spent many hours following monkeys, and there are simple ways to prevent conflict.

When around macaques, do not carry food or items that they associate with food, especially plastic bags. Canvas bags or backpacks are less likely to elicit unwanted approaches.

Walk calmly around macaques and maintain a respectful distance. Do not leave open windows unsupervised, and install mesh screens to prevent macaques from entering homes.

The Agri -Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has the ability and responsibility to develop sustainable strategies for managing human-wildlife conflict.

Trapping should not be the primary response to complaints; instead, complainants should have exhausted all necessary precautions to prevent macaque conflict on their properties.

Human behavioural change is crucial to resolving the conflict between residents and wildlife.

Indiscriminate culling will not solve the conflict and can harm the long-term health of wildlife populations, of which we are only beginning to understand.

I urge the AVA to hold-off on culling operations until scientifically informed decisions regarding the necessity, location and scale of operations can be made; consult local primate researchers for help.

Our native wildlife should be treasured, appreciated and scientifically managed, especially in and around their last refuge – our nature reserves.

Amanda Tan Wei Yi (Miss)

(c) 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Limited

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