Monday, April 8, 2013

ABC Wed: M for Macaque Monkeys

The monkey on the tree and dropping mango stones unto Christopher's head.
This monkey snatched a packet of biscuits from the children. The monkey held the packet firmly under one arm and with his 3 other limbs zigzagged his way through us and and quick like a flash, was up the tree. I was within reach of his tail but wasn't sure if I still wanted the biscuits.

The monkey came very near to Christopher and Olivia waiting to pounce on the goodies the children were having for their picnic.

The monkey is eyeing Olivia's ice cold drink. ignoring Chris.

scaffolding when my apartment was painted. You can see the vertical stainless railing that the monkeys climbed on.

There were rainforest trees just outside my balcony. The upside, I see lots of exotic birds and monkey jumping on the branches. The downside, monkeys come into the house and steal our food.

I took these from my balcony.

We were the first household in Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to have a brush with wild monkeys. When you see our apartment and the tall trees, you will understand why. The University was built on the edge of the city and encroached on the jungles. As more and more land were cleared for housing, the monkeys had no where to go.

It was about 15 years ago, I had just returned with Sam from a shopping trip, and Sam had left his french fries on the coffee table. I was at the corner of my dining room at the computer. Our dining room and lounge opened to the balcony where the trees were just outside us at the 4th storey.

An adult monkey climbed on to the railing of my balcony. Next, he was sitting on the chair barely a metre away from me. I was quietly calling to the children who were upstairs to come downstairs to watch. At the same time, I was afraid that it would attack me as it bared its fangs at me. It then walked to the lounge, sat at the couch and started eating the french fries. After he had finished eating the french fries, it grabbed hold of a canister of roasted peanuts under his arms.

At this time, three little monkeys climbed along the railings. The adult monkey very cleverly balanced on 3 limbs and climbed up the roof of my neighbour's apartment and cracked open the canister.

More monkeys came to join him, and all in all there were eight. I peeped from my stairway watching them enjoying a feast from my peanuts.

I had a nature journal with the university resident's website. Soon everyone knew about the monkeys. This was very interesting to the expatriot community. My neighbours came from all over the world. Unfortunately after the initial curiousity, the residents treated the Macaque monkeys as pest. We couldn't leave food outside on the tables. These monkeys created havoc by stealing our food and tearing orchid flowers apart.

I invited A/P Dr. Vilma for the Nature Society and the university to talk about these Macaque monkeys. The ladies had an enlightened afternoon. Vilma explained the plight of the monkeys and how men had rob them of their natural habitat. The best thing was to ignore them.

The university however, did not ignore them. They trapped and darted them. Oh, how sad, we could not exist with them.

My nieces and nephews went to visit a nature reserve. They went to the MacRitchie Reservior. There the monkeys are no longer living the way they were meant to be. They have become very aggressive.

Here's what my sister Grace wrote of their experience.

"someone had opened a packet of biscuits, before I know it, a monkey had taken the whole packet right under our noses. While the kids yelled, gave chase and Lincoln clapped his hands in the monkeys face, the monkey held the packet firmly under one arm and with his 3 other limbs zigzagged his way through us and ran up a tree. I was within reach of his tail but wasn't sure if I still wanted the biscuits.

Michael was very frightened and tightly held the other packet of biscuits while trying to drink. Angelina with a piece of biscuit in one hand and a cup in the other was fiercely protecting her cap by tucking it under her arm. Thomas got the long drink bottle and told us that if the other monkeys came nearer, he would use it to push the monkeys' heads away. By then, many monkeys came running towards us from far away.

A monkey came up to our feet to pick up the biscuit crumbs. Some watched us at shoulder height from a nearby tree. It was eerie because the monkeys were camouflaged in the tree trunks but we could see their eyes watching us. There were about 5 lining up on the ground 3 feet away from us.

Helen decided to keep the biscuits inside the box but started on the pomelo fruit with Olivia. Helen told Olivia to be careful. I didn't even realise that the pomelo sacs were dropped on the floor until the monkeys rushed over to pick them up. There were lots of shouting and shooing from the kids, Michael started crying............next thing I heard, Olivia's pomelo was snatched from her hand.

I couldn't believe it, here we were lecturing about our food, Jessie verbally abusing the monkey which was enjoying our packet of biscuits. Olivia said it was like a tug and war, and it felt strange when the monkey's fingers touched hers.

It just got really scary because lots and lots of monkeys had turned up and we had to leave.

It was an experience. I couldn't take any photoes of the monkeys lining up in front of us because Michael was crying and Angelina kept holding onto my leg.

A week later when we were deciding where to go for a picnic, Olivia jokingly suggested the monkey park. Thomas said we can't go there, the monkeys will steal all our food again."



Reader Wil said...

Very good post for M, Ann! How cheeky are those monkeys!
But it is understandable considering the fact that their natural habitat is getting smaller and smaller. It's a pity that human beings are destroying life on earth.
Thank you for sharing.
Wil, ABCW Team.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

Monkeys, of course I didn't think of that M. Would have needed to visit our local zoo! Now I want to go!

Roger Owen Green said...

arrest those monkeys!
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Leslie: said...

Gosh. That puts me in mind to the cougars and bears that have been displaced in our local mountains because homes have been built so high up. People have to be so careful when they encroach on wild animals' habitats!

abcw team

Joy said...

The macaque is certainly a cheeky monkey, love your photo story. What fascinating creatures, I can understand it must be frustrating to have food disappear but I'm sure there are monkey friendly ways to address it rather than capturing them.

Chubskulit Rose said...

Ornery monkeys hehehe.

Making my rounds for letter M.
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team