Article contributed by Roots & Shoots.
One of the pleasures of living in a tropical environment is to enjoy the natural greenery, and to live next to or near the green lungs in and around the cities.
However, living near the greens comes with its own unique set of potential issues – such as having long-tailed macaques (also known as ‘kera’ in Bahasa Malaysia) as neighbours.
Macaques are, by nature, extremely curious. A visit to the human neighbourhoods to explore is just like any other normal stroll in the forest.
And because of that, they have developed a scavenging habit as a result of having been fed human food in the past, whether directly or indirectly.
Now, if you find your home and its occupants having to deal with too many unwelcomed visits, then this guide will help you deal with the monkeys as safely and humanely as possible!
Remember: Those Are Wild Animals, And This Isn’t Disney
These creatures that live in the forest are able to feed entirely on what the jungle provides – wild figs, leaves, and tree bark.
However, with expanding urban development, human habitats begin to encroach into their territory. Some have been fed bread, food scraps, and various fruits, which leads to an addiction to sugar and salt.
And like all other addictions, it leaves them craving for more, which leads to them raiding through your rubbish bins as well as breaking into your homes in search of their “salt/sugar high”.
One of the ways to avoid getting into these situations is to ensure that the macaques are NOT fed at all, to begin with, no matter how "cute" they may seem at first.
Feeding wildlife can, and will, lead to conflicts in the future. Because, not long after their initial adorable and docile nature when they first appear on your doorstep, their hunger soon follows.
The monkeys have been taught and conditioned that human food is a staple diet and they will need to guard it, resulting in a very aggressive reaction with people because they feel threatened.
This leads to cases where they raid homes and in some extreme cases, physically attacking humans, even when the person has nothing edible on him.
The reason for this is, the monkeys have come to associate the ‘two-legged upright moving creature’ as the source of their food.
What Can You Do About This, Without Harming The Monkeys?
You wouldn’t want to wake up one morning to find the entire insides of your house turned upside down, thanks to an army of hungry and aggressive monkeys!
So the most obvious thing to do is to ensure all your windows and doors have window mesh/grilles installed – you’d still get to enjoy good ventilation, while preventing access for the macaques.
Since they will only stay in an area if there’s food/scraps, the fact that there’s none would mean they won’t be there for too long as their survival instincts kick in.
In addition, macaques generally have a regular pattern for travelling, as well as pretty specific timings for when they’d make an appearance.
It would be a good idea to observe them for a couple of days to take note of those timings, so that you can either double check all the access points are secured, or avoid taking the garbage out (you might get attacked!).
If your house has pet entrances, make sure you secure those as well! You can choose to get flaps that only open based on an automatic signal coming from your pet’s collar, or you can install a latch which can only be opened from the inside.
If the macaques in your neighbourhood have developed a habit of going through your trash already, you can contact projects like Animal Neighbours Project on Facebook.
They will be able to help you set up simple and affordable monkey-proof bin latches which have been successful in preventing monkeys from raiding your bins.
This will slowly wean the monkeys off your bins and if no one is feeding them any longer, they will learn to live off nature’s offerings, as they have always done!
As for your garden/porch, make sure that the area is kept clean and clutter-free. Should there be any litter, these mischievous monkeys will find it a reallyyy fun play area instead.
If your home is facing another sort of pesky problem (read: pests of the creepy kind), then you’re going to need this Beginner’s Guide To Pest Control, best of luck!
Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is a youth-led action programme aimed at young people of all ages. The programme was founded in 1991 by Dr Jane Goodall under the Jane Goodall Institute, and it promotes the values of compassion and respect for all living things, as well as intercultural understanding and solidarity among all peoples. You can find out more at rootsandshootsaward.my, follow them on Facebook (Roots & Shoots Malaysia), or Instagram (rootsandshootsmy).
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