An Integrated Approach to Macaque Management

Nov 4, 2020

NParks, NEA, ACRES, Jane Goodall Institute Singapore, Marsiling-Yew Tee Town Council

To better manage macaques in Singapore, NParks adopts an integrated approach, and science-based strategy from various fronts. Having long-term sustainable measures also encourages co-existence between humans and macaques, as opposed to short-term solutions (i.e. macaque trapping, removal and culling) in response to public feedback.

The team conducts monitoring on-site to study the behaviour of macaques, and to track their movement and activity patterns. Research is conducted to monitor the population size island-wide, and individual macaques are also microchipped and sterilised. By examining their habitats, the team seeks to understand factors that contribute to the population of macaques, such as carrying capacity and natural resources available. The team also conducts environmental impact assessments to pre-empt trends, and plan ahead.

The team initiated multiple outreach and engagement sessions to raise awareness among the community on human-macaque interactions, including: 

  • Roadshows for children at primary schools, pre-schools and day care centres 
  • Talks with residents 
  • ‘Monkey guarding’ programmes. Monkey guarding is a new method that herds, and conditions monkeys away from a certain area. Over time, this reduces monkey-human interaction in the area as it creates a negative association for monkeys, and acts as an invisible barrier.
  • Liaising with NGOs like ACRES and JGIS where monkey guards are deployed on site e.g. Condominiums bordering Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Dairy Farm estates. 
  • Training contractors, security personnel and Town Council conservancy workers to be monkey guards.

Town Councils, PA and building managers are also engaged to help in the distribution of advisories on monkeys. There were also improvements in bin design and waste management at affected residential estates in partnership with NEA.

All these measures resulted in a drop in the number feedback received at several project sites. This project also aims to gradually change the mind-set of the public, increase tolerance levels towards macaques, and to educate the younger ones on biodiversity in our city, so that they can grow up to be more accepting of encounters with animals in our city.

An Integrated Approach to Macaque Management

Monkey guarding by Marsiling Yew-Tee Town Council.