SINGAPORE: Following a spate of attacks by monkeys in Bukit Panjang's Segar area, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on Thursday (Apr 20) said they are likely to be caused by a single monkey.
In a statement issued to the media, AVA said it is "not normal" for monkeys to approach people and enter homes, and the attacks are "a display of atypical behaviour".
"The monkey’s behaviour is likely to have been altered due to feeding, which has caused it to associate humans with food. The presence of food from feeders, which are easily available, may have conditioned the monkey to regularly visit the estate in search of food," AVA said. It noted that five cases of monkey attacks in the Segar area were reported in the past week. One of these cases occurred in early April, AVA said, but was only reported recently.
AVA added that it is working with the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) and Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) to remove the monkey in the area, and that various humane methods - such as deploying traps or using darts to tranquilise the primate - will be used. No monkeys were caught in its recent operations exercise, AVA said.
AVA has received about 160 reports of monkey attacks and nuisance in the area since October last year. Most recently, an elderly man was hospitalised after being bitten by a monkey on Monday morning.
AVA WORKING ON MONKEY ISSUES IN SEGAR SINCE OCTOBER 2016
The authority added that it has been working with stakeholders to mitigate the monkey issues since October last year. They have conducted control operations, and a monkey was removed from the area in November 2016.
Additionally, AVA said it has worked with the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council to prune trees and harvest fruit from the trees in the estate, as trees are natural sources of food and shelter for the monkeys.
"We advise the public to keep clear of our operations for their own safety. Crowds of people may hamper our operations by causing the monkey to be wary and go into hiding," the statement said.
AVA also urged residents in Segar to keep their windows and doors closed as much as possible, especially during the early mornings and late afternoons when the monkey is known to be more active.
"The public can also make their premises less attractive to monkeys by keeping food out of sight from the monkey and practicing good food refuse management, such as double knotting garbage bags and disposing garbage in bins with secured lids," AVA said.
"Aggressive monkeys pose a risk to public safety. Monkeys may also carry zoonotic diseases that are harmful to public health," AVA added. "AVA’s priority in managing the wild animal population is to ensure public health and safety is not compromised."