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Tackling monkey problem

A new volunteer group has been set up to deal with the monkey problem faced by residents living near the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

SINGAPORE: A new volunteer group has been set up to deal with the monkey problem faced by residents living near the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The monkeys break into homes as well as snatch plastic bags or food from people.

The long-tailed macaques have been a headache for residents in the area. And now members of the new Bukit Timah Wildlife Network make it a point to be at the nature reserve every weekend to remind visitors not to feed the monkeys and not to litter.

Authorities have taken control measures from time to time but one MP said public education is still a better way forward. Ms Sim Ann, an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said: "It is about letting people know that we should not encourage the monkeys to acquire a taste for human food, because that just changes their diet and also their behaviour. There really is absolutely no need for visitors to feed the monkeys. The monkeys have enough food in the forests."

Mr Jason Kok, organising chairman of Bukit Timah Wildlife Network, said: "We did some research and realised that monkey-related problems can be traced back to human behaviour, which is littering. So we wanted to do a programme to educate the public on non-littering (and) not to leave rubbish in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, so as not to leave an additional food source for the macaques."