Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ferocious monkey goes shopping at Elias Mall

Ferocious monkey goes shopping at Elias Mall
A ferocious monkey was spotted at Elias Mall in Pasir Ris, this afternoon (April 21). This creature was apparently attacking shoppers and looking for food in the bins.

Says STOMPer Ong:

"I saw this monkey at Elias Mall this afternoon around 1.30pm.

"It was jumping up and down, looking for food in the rubbish bin.

"It climbed up to the two-storey corridor and started attacking people when they walk pass the clinic.

"I even saw an old man giving him a banana, but the monkey took and threw it on the floor.

"After that, he went to a nearby cake stall.

"Everyone ran away when they saw the monkey.

"Then, like as if it had done its job of terrorising the people, he jumped onto a tree and was out of sight.

Ferocious monkey goes shopping at Elias Mall

A long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) in Pasir Ris? I wonder if it's somebody's escaped or abandoned pet.

As far as I know, there are no wild macaques in the Pasir Ris area. On mainland Singapore, macaque populations can be found in the Central Nature Reserves and Western Catchment Area, as well as in Bukit Batok Nature Park and in the vicinity of Sungei Buloh. There are also populations on Sentosa, Sisters Islands, Pulau Ubin, and Pulau Tekong. So, unless a macaque actually swam across from Pulau Ubin, I think it is plausible that this particular monkey is an ex-captive, which explains why it is scavenging from rubbish bins in an urban area.

However, macaques have been recorded in many other parts of urban Singapore before, in places like Toa Payoh, Holland Village and Marsiling, Bedok Reservoir and even Prinsep Street. Given that many of these places are far from forested areas known to harbour macaque populations, and that in many of these encounters, lone individuals were involved, I find it likely that most if not all of these sightings are of former pets.

The last time a macaque was encountered in Pasir Ris was between April and June 2007, when a lone individual was spotted on several occasions, and even chased a boy. However, there were no further sightings after June that year, and the monkey's ultimate fate is unknown. It's highly likely that this particular macaque was also a former pet.

Hungry monkey stranded in Pasir Ris (2nd April 2007)
Monkey spotted at Pasir Ris Drive 3! (10th April 2007)
The monkey's back at Pasir Ris (17th May 2007)
"Wildlife close to home" (1st June 2007)
This monkey pops by my house (4th June 2007)
Monkey looking for food in Pasir Ris (11th June 2007)

And now, for an off-topic rant...

I am extremely irritated with the extremely lousy search function found on STOMP. Come on, is it too much to install a Google search bar, or even Rednano? Or at least tweak the search function so that it's more discerning? It annoys me greatly that searching for "fish" brings up results about "selfish" people, or that searching for "river" brings up results about "drivers". What's more, only a fraction of relevant posts appear in the search results, and unless you're willing to really systematically trawl the depths of STOMP and sift through goodness knows how many posts since 2006, it's going to be impossible to find many of these other posts.

I really don't get it. How is it even possible to be searching for posts on monkeys (Thankfully, most of the results are relevant, posts on the so-called Monkey God tree notwithstanding), click on 'Next' at the bottom, expecting to find a list of more monkey-related posts, only to find posts like "What a mess at Harbour Front Food Junction!", "Fake fortune-tellers on the prowl in town!", "Worker perching dangerously on lorry" and "Are teenagers getting out of hand?".

It's appallingly ridiculous. None of the results on the second page (and beyond) are even relevant to the search term. And so, those search results you get on the first page or all you'll ever manage to track down, unless you really have too much time to waste scrolling through the archives.

How shameful that a site run by Singapore Press Holdings cannot even have a proper search function, when anyone can install a customised Google search engine on their own websites for free.