Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stressed Singaporeans Crack Down on Thieving Monkeys

With monitor lizards, snakes, and bats prowling their parks, residents of tropical Singapore are no strangers to the occasional animal ambush.

But it's not the iguanas or squirrels that have locals up in arms -- it's the monkeys.

Gangs of long-tailed macaque monkeys have been causing havoc in housing estates bordering nature reserves; stealing food and brawling on the streets.

"They roam the estate in groups of up to 20 &- rampaging the estate and turning over dustbins," one irate local wrote to the national paper in October.

"They enter the house, open cupboards, steal food and soil the premises".

Picnics are spoiled and snacks are snatched from bags while golfers tee off. Even the British Club has armed staff with brooms to shoo monkeys away from the gourmet buffet.

"It's a very weird situation," said Sharon Chan, the National Parks official tasked with managing the macaques.

"It's not that they want to attack. They just think, if you have the food, why don't you share it? Why are you eating and not sharing? Can I have some? They cross the line".

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