(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

People armed with tranquiliser guns and blowpipes were out yesterday morning to hunt and sedate long-tailed macaques that have harassed and injured Housing Board flat residents in Bukit Panjang.

Over the last four days, five to six personnel from animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), Wildlife Reserves Singapore and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) were deployed as early as 6am to look for the primates at Segar Road.

Yesterday, the team concentrated its efforts in the vicinity of a large playground flanked by blocks 465 to 471.

Acres deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal, who was on site, said a monkey appeared but kept moving away because of the crowd of onlookers that had gathered, making it difficult for the team to get a shot.

As of 12.30pm yesterday, no monkeys had been captured.

The macaques have been harassing residents for months, stealing their food and even biting them.

ELUSIVE

It just climbed higher and higher and disappeared.

MR ONG, a 71-year-old resident of Block 465, referring to a monkey that officers were trying to catch on Tuesday evening, without success.

Since last October, AVA has received about 160 pieces of feedback on monkey attacks and nuisance in the estate.

The agency has deemed the monkey situation a public safety risk, adding that it has been conducting monkey control operations there.

It is aware of five reported monkey attacks in the Segar area this week. So far, it has caught one monkey there in November.

Acres said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the behaviour of at least one monkey has been altered due to public feeding and harassment.

The Straits Times understands that people have been feeding and provoking the monkey, such as throwing stones at it.

Baited cage traps have been set up and, more recently, the authorities have taken to darting the monkeys to capture them.

Residents say there seem to be two to three monkeys at most, but they are causing them grief.

A 71-year-old resident of Block 465, who wanted to be known only as Mr Ong, said he saw the officers trying to catch a monkey on Tuesday evening, without success.

“It just climbed higher and higher and disappeared,” said Mr Ong.

Housewife Eileen Chew, 67, said a monkey has even entered her 14th-storey flat at Block 478.

Madam Chew is worried that more people may get hurt, especially children, if the monkey continues to run around unchecked.

“If they don’t catch it, kids will be in trouble,” she said.

More Info: www.straitstimes.com

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