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Samuel Sashant Devaraj
The New Paper
May 02, 2019
The housewife, who has lived in her Petir Road flat for 17 years, enjoyed leaving her windows and main door open for ventilation.
But it was not just fresh air that entered her unit.
About a year ago, she saw a monkey climb in looking for food.
After that, the woman who wanted to be known only as Madam Tan, had wire mesh installed on her door and windows to keep the monkeys out.
The New Paper visited Petir Road, in Bukit Panjang, on Monday and Tuesday to speak to residents about their experience with monkeys.
Madam Tan, 60, said she has heard of monkeys entering a nearby exercise area, frightening the people using the machines there.
She said: "I'd be scared if monkeys come inside the home. They can attack you."
Another 60-year-old housewife who declined to be named, said she sometimes sees up to 15 monkeys roam the area outside her flat and has seen residents feed the monkeys.
The Petir Road area is close to the Zhenghua Nature Park.
Other residents said that monkeys have entered their homes to eat bread, potatoes and fruits such as apples and oranges.
Mr Mohammed Ghazali, 48, a civil servant, said: "I feel quite irritated but not too much - I just want to eat the bread instead of having to throw it away."
The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) told TNP the monkeys are long-tailed macaques.
A monkey of the same species had terrorised residents in Segar Road, also in Bukit Panjang, about two years ago.
More than 10 residents were attacked and an elderly resident needed surgery twice, before the monkey was caught by the authorities.
A spokesman from the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council told TNP on Monday that it has been working closely with the Animal & Veterinary Service, under the National Parks Board, to address the monkey issue.
The spokesman added: "Our appeal to residents is they avoid feeding the monkeys as it alters their natural behaviour and causes them to rely on humans for food."
Ms Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive of Acres, said the monkeys have enough food in their natural habitats and should not be fed.
She added: "It just takes one feeder to affect the experience of the neighbourhood and change the behaviour of these wild macaques."
On Tuesday, an NParks spokesman told TNP they were aware of the monkeys and will continue to closely monitor the population.
He added: "When people feed monkeys at the forest edge, the monkeys get conditioned to human food and may venture out of the forests in search of it.
"This leads to the display of aggressive behaviour such as grabbing plastic bags and food containers from people. In addition, the health of the monkeys would be adversely affected. Hence, feeding is strongly discouraged."
For any animal-related feedback, contact NParks at www.avs.gov.sg/feedback or call the Animal Response Centre helpline at 1800-476-1600.