Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monkey in East Coast tries to attack students

Monkey in East Coast tries to attack students
A STOMPer was in East Coast F2 car park yesterday (Aug 3) when he witnessed this monkey attempting to bite students.

Michael says:

"The monkey was running around near the toilets.

"It's very unusual to see a monkey in East Coast, it almost bit some students as they were exploring."

Here's a very interesting record of the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis). I've never heard of macaques inhabiting the East Coast Park area, although I would not discount the possibility of wandering individuals dispersing from other forested areas. There's also the possibility that this is a former captive that has been released or escaped.

In a park that is so heavily used, I'm sure the macaque will start scavenging for leftovers left by visitors, or rummaging through garbage bins for tidbits. I certainly hope no one starts feeding it, which will only make things worse; it will surely then start to harass and intimidate people and steal their belongings. This will definitely create a conflict that the monkey is bound to lose.

The person who submitted this post to STOMP could have provided further details about the alleged attack. Was it being cornered or chased by the students? Were they feeding it? Was the macaque rushing at them because it was being threatened? I've been chased by an angry macaque before, but that was only because I was taking photos of it from behind, and it definitely also did not appreciate the attention from all the people converging on its position.

Interestingly enough, there seem to be quite a few recent records of lone macaques popping up in the eastern part of Singapore, which traditionally hasn't been a stronghold for the species. There were sightings of a single macaque in Pasir Ris in April, while in May, I found another lone macaque at Changi Village.

Long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis)
This was the very same macaque that charged at me when I was taking photos of its back.

What could possibly account for all these sightings and records? Are wandering macaques using our park connectors and the trees along our roads and pavements as corridors, dispersing out from their usual haunts in search of food and new territory?

Whatever happens, now that it has been accused of posing a threat to public safety, I have a feeling that this particular macaque's days are numbered.