During the first Long-tailed Macaque Working Group meeting in 2017, Dr Jane Goodall, who was visiting at the time, stated that macaques were intelligent and social animals and that, “If every single person in Singapore did not feed macaques for three years, the human-macaque issue would be resolved. Juvenile macaques will learn only to feed from the forest”.
With this in mind, JGIS, in partnership with the LTMWG, launched a “No Feeding Campaign” targeted at long-tailed macaques. It is hoped that the campaign will also help resolve wider human-wildlife conflict with other urban wildlife, like wild pigs. On 26 November 2019, Mr. Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, announced the launch of the “No Feeding Campaign” during the JGIS ConservAction Week when Dr. Jane Goodall was again in Singapore.
The “No Feeding Campaign” aims at stopping the provision of food to macaques across Singapore within three years, through education and outreach activities like talks by our Wildlife Ambassadors and Monkey Walks, targeted research through a long-tailed macaque citizen science programme called the Monkey Scouts, and a Monkey Guards programme.
Education and outreach
Through our Monkey Walk programme where we bring members of the public to observe long-tailed macaques in the wild, we will educate members of the public about their ecology and how best to live harmoniously alongside them. Talks will be held at schools, community centres and at condominiums that have monkeys sharing their space, with the aim of educating the public about monkeys and inspiring them to make a positive difference so as to live in harmony with monkeys in their neighbourhood.
Research and action
A map of human-macaque conflict hotspots will be generated through the collective efforts within the LTMWG, using data generated by university research as well as calls received by ACRES and NParks relating to macaque-related incidents. A new JGIS-led citizen science programme called Monkey Scouts will supplement these efforts to make sense of where human-macaque interactions occur, and possibly why.
Teams of trained JGIS Monkey Guards will be dispatched regularly to areas identified in the map to carry out education and monkey guarding activities. Infographics and advice on appropriate human behaviours when encountering macaques (such as no feeding, keeping plastic bags away, and maintaining a safe distance) will be provided to the public.
In residential areas or eateries near forests where macaques congregate, simple methods to secure outdoor waste bins (such as using bungee cords) will be shared with owners. Monkey Guards will also monitor the conflict situation on the ground and, where needed, will prevent macaques from entering houses or restaurants and safely guide the macaques back into the forests. In order to track the success of the campaign, JGIS will conduct surveys on public perception of macaques.
Assessment of existing situations of human-macaque conflicts will be carried out at the beginning, middle and end of the campaign. JGIS expects that the “No Feeding Campaign” will significantly reduce or even fully resolve conflicts between humans and macaques, leading to a greater appreciation of our native urban wildlife so that we can all coexist in harmony in Singapore.