Our Monkeys Are Safe, For Now

Driving through to the end of Rifle Range Road, where there’s an ST Kinetics factory, and back out to Dunearn Road was very pleasant, and we’re very thankful for very pretty green pockets like these around the island. We hope it stays that way.

We had been a bit worried that we hadn’t seen our monkey troop around for nearly two months now. And with reports of sanctioned mass culling, we feared the worst for the Rifle Range Road Troop – as our bunch of monkeys are known (thanks Amanda for telling me).

We even missed seeing the Lone Ranger in the troop – the naughty one responsible for many trespassing and food stealing incidents at our condo and nearby terrace houses. So we took a drive this afternoon through Rifle Range Road hoping to look for them.

We’re happy to report that the Rifle Range Road macaques are well, although I don’t think we saw Lone Ranger. I hope he’s just off by himself nearby. To the humans who live around this neck of the woods, please learn to live with these very important primates.

You can start by not leaving your trash/food in plastic bags (because the macaques have been conditioned to look for plastic bags because most of the time, they contain food) in the open. Secure your trash bins with bungee cords, and for goodness’ sakes, do not feed the monkeys. If you don’t follow these guidelines, you’re the ones being the nuisance.

The AVA has sanctioned private contractors who trap these creatures and kill them because of human complaints. The contractors have been reported to be a little too zealous in the culling – 300+ kills out of a total macaque population of 2,000 is excessive.  I blame the humans who complain. Please, just move out and leave us and our monkeys alone.


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Show Me The Monkey

Couldn't find my monkey report app #bukittimah

We love our new home. And after four months, we still love that it takes 30 minutes to walk up from Dunearn Road (although there’s a shuttle service) and we love the lush greenery all round.

We didn’t mind that there was a colony of long-tailed macaques roaming the edge of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve that would appear at different parts of the wooded area around our apartment block. They generally don’t bother anyone except when they tip unsecured rubbish bins over to scrounge for food.

There is however that one lone ranger macaque I mentioned previously who is quite bold, and a few months ago, actually came into our apartment and stole a bag of candy floss Kai had gotten from a party. He also managed to squeeze through our almost shut bathroom window and bite our tube of toothpaste.

He’s “terrorized” other apartment units and houses in the estate often enough for the NEA/AVA to post tips on our notice boards on how to handle the monkey menace. Securing rubbish bins with bungee cords was one tip – which made me assume that the NEA think that monkeys don’t know how to undo bungee cords.

There are several other useful ones, such as carrying your child on your shoulders to give the monkey the impression that you are a lot bigger (and that there is no small child for it to attack), and not looking the monkey in the eye (I dunno, monkeys behave like Singapore gangs, I guess, and might be provoked by staring).

But we were most encouraged by the tip that the macaques would usually visit at a certain time of day, and so kept a “monkey diary” recording the time of every monkey sighting. This was useful because it meant we could keep our windows open for most of the day, enjoying the fresh-ish air sans air-con, bar for what we called “monkey hour”, which was 5.30-6.30pm.

I don’t know what happened last week, but the lone ranger macaque must have gotten wind of our diary and has since mixed up his schedule, attempting to come into our apartment willy nilly anyhowly anytime.

We hear that the AVA is trying to trap this fella and bring him further into the Nature Reserve. They haven’t succeeded because I think he’s reading their memos.

[Check out this video of a macaque raiding a Rasa Sentosa room’s minibar]