Monkey on the loose at Segar Road eludes AVA's efforts to catch it

Monkey on the loose at Segar Road eludes AVA's efforts to catch it
A monkey perched on a ledge of an HDB block in Bukit Panjang. Photo: Raj Nadarajan
Published: 8:40 PM, April 20, 2017
Updated: 6:31 PM, April 21, 2017

SINGAPORE — Efforts to catch a monkey that has been harassing residents at Segar Road have so far been unsuccessful, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a statement Thursday (April 20).

Despite deploying traps and using darts in attempts to tranquilise the monkey, the primate has managed to elude AVA's joint operation with Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) and Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).

Describing the monkey's behaviour as "atypical", the Group Director, Animal Management Group at AVA, Ms Jessica Kwok said: "It is not normal for monkeys to approach people, and enter homes.

"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," Ms Kwok added. Control operations are still ongoing.

Five cases of monkey attacks have been reported in the Segar area so far this week, AVA noted, of which one case happened in early April but was only reported recently.

The Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council is also working with AVA to prune trees and harvest fruits from trees in the estate to reduce the attractiveness of the estate to the monkeys, as trees are natural sources of food and shelter.

In its update, AVA advised the public to stay away from its operations for their own safety.

"Crowds of people may hamper our operations by causing the monkey to be wary and go into hiding," Ms Kwok said.

"Residents in Segar estate are also advised 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."

On Monday morning, a monkey bit an elderly resident, Mr Tan Leng Choo, when he was lounging at the void deck of Block 472 Segar Road.

In the past six months, there have been 160 instances of wild monkeys attacking people or causing a nuisance in the Segar Road area

In Nov 2016, one monkey was removed from the same estate after control operations.