A NEW species of wildlife that appeared at the edge of a forest, of a popular jogging area in Ampang, is angering residents and joggers.
The creatures take after the Panthera tigris whose natural home is in the jungles of Malaysia except it has synthetic fur, cotton innards and plastic eyes.
It took the monkeys in the area less than a week to realise that their new neighbour does not need sustenance and was no threat to them.
The monkeys were not fooled by the soft toy tigers and were soon back on the streets and lurking around the houses, up to mischief.
This kind of behaviour was what the local council had hoped to put an end to with their toy tigers.
The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) also erected a length of fence near the usual feeding spot to prevent wild boars from coming into the area.
While some found the tactic of placing soft toys to scare the monkeys amusing, others did not find it so funny.
The problem of wildlife trying to fit in at the Taman Tun Abdul Razak (Taman TAR), an upscale residential area nestled at the edge of a forest, has been ongoing for years.
More than 20 years ago, only a few monkeys could be seen close to the jogging path but after people started constantly feeding them, more began to appear.
The abundance of food eventually attracted wild boars in the last few years.
Most of these animals are usually seen around the area where the jogging path levels out at its highest point on the hill.
A long-time resident of Ampang, Tan J.C. said she had not been to the area after a scary incident with the monkeys.
“I used to go there about two or three times a week to exercise. I always carry an umbrella in case of rain. There have always been monkeys in the area.
“One day, there was a particularly large group of them sitting on the trees, on the pavement and even on the road.
“There was no way around them so I just continued along the path. Once I was in the centre of the group, a particularly large and scarred monkey attacked me and some of the others followed. I was really fortunate to have my umbrella with me as it helped keep most of the monkeys at bay until the other joggers caught up,” she said.
Resident Timmy Wong, 29, also recalls an attack while walking with his mother more than a month ago.
“This huge monkey with scars on its face was sitting in the middle of the path so we decided to walk around it. Just as we were passing it, it pounced! I had a golf club with me then, as I had intended to head to the driving range after the walk, and boy, was I glad I had it to scare the monkey away,” he said.
Wong added that regular joggers and walkers always carried a stick on their route.
He also said that more than a month ago, several monkeys attacked his neighbour and their maid at the back of their home.
“The wounds they ended up with were bad enough that they had to get stitches and of course, a jab.
“The monkeys come into homes because they are hungry and are looking for food,” he said, adding that such incidents happen now and then.
He said feeding the monkeys encourages them to be fearless of humans, and creates an unnatural behaviour in them and a dependence on the feeding.
“There are so many people going up the hill, in the safety of their cars, to watch this “circus”. It is getting overcrowded and quite dirty, despite the attempts by some people to clean up. Sometimes the stench of leftover food and the odour of animals can be very strong and it is not pleasant at all,” he said.
Another resident Kris Lim, who also disagrees with the feeding, said tourists buses could also be seen in the area to watch the monkeys.
“A few attempts have been made by MPAJ and Forestry Department to put a stop to it including putting up signs which people ignore.
“Later on, the sign and rubbish bins in the area were stolen,” she said.
Lim thinks MPAJ’s tactic to frighten the monkeys is a waste of taxpayers money.
“The monkeys are quite smart and will eventually realise the tigers are fake.
“Even the wild boars found a way through the fence but a few of them had bleeding wounds from the effort. For the rest of us, it is an eyesore,” she said.
Lim said MPAJ should focus its attention on catching people who dump rotting fruits and vegetables in the area at night as this caused a terrible stench, the day after.
MPAJ public relations officer Norhayati Ahmad said that they received complaints about the area’s cleanliness almost on a daily basis.
“We receive more complaints than support for the feeding in the area. However, there is not much we can do about the feeding,” she said, adding that the tigers were a suggestion by a councillor who had seen a successful version of it in Perak.