Mr Han Cheng Fong expressed concerns over the aggressiveness of macaques and recommended culling as a solution ("Do more to curb monkey population"; Wednesday).
While the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) understands his concerns, the reality is that culling is not an effective solution and also does not address the root of the problem.
The root of the problem is the readily available food sources in human areas.
In addition, the reality is that macaques are opportunistic animals which naturally live on the edge of the forest rather than deep in the forest. We have now built our houses on their natural habitat and as such, there will undoubtedly be an increase in human-macaque interactions.
It is, however, possible to co-exist with the macaques. Steps must be taken to actively manage the interactions between the macaques and humans, and residents must also take active steps to ensure that there is no readily available food source in their property.
Acres has now embarked on an awareness programme to create the much-needed awareness on how to interpret macaque behaviours and understand their language. This will undoubtedly help to reduce the aggressive interactions between the macaques and humans.
There is currently no need to curb Singapore's monkey population as there is no evidence indicating that there is an overpopulation of macaques here.
Culling is not endorsed internationally and is an unethical practice. This year, Gibraltar stopped culling its macaques and is now focusing on public education and legal enforcement against people who feed the macaques.
The key to resolving the human-macaque conflict is to learn to co-exist with the macaques.
We share residents' concerns about the current conflicts and Acres has recently established a Macaque Rescue Team to assist residents with any human-macaque conflict issues and also embark on public education campaigns. Members of the public can call our hotline on 9783-7782.
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