Monkey menace in Gasing Indah

Macaques making their way to their usual haunt at the radio transmission tower beside the Sivan Temple in Bukit Gasing.

THERE are moments when the residents of Taman Gasing Indah near Bukit Gasing feel like prisoners in their own homes, living in fear of monkeys that are terrorising the area.

Residents of this neighbourhood which borders Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur recently shared with StarMetro their daily battles with the macaques.

The monkeys, they claimed, had become more bold of late, entering houses in a troop of up to 30 at a time and leaving behind a big mess.

Monkeys from Bukit Gasing seldom get caught in the traps set up by Perhilitan.Monkeys from Bukit Gasing seldom get caught in the traps set up by Perhilitan.

However, the mess is not their biggest concern; it is the increasingly aggressive behaviour of the primates that has them worried the most.

The residents blame the poor planning of developments surrounding Bukit Gasing which they claim have taken away the natural habitat of these macaques.The danger and concern

Resident Kim Ong, a mother of three young children between the ages of two and eight, said there had been numerous incidents where the monkeys, especially the alpha males, posed a danger to her family.

“Our garden had been invaded by about 20 monkeys despite the fencing. On several occasions, we encountered aggressive alpha male monkeys that came up to the window and bared their fangs at us.

“Getting in and out of the car with monkeys hovering around the perimeter of the house and the roof can be frightening, especially when I’m alone with the children, ” she said.

Ong cited as example one occasion when one of the windows in the house was left open and a group of monkeys came in and messed up the place.

The situation became worse when two of the monkeys were trapped in the house.

“Most of the monkeys escaped but two monkeys panicked and ran into a room. They got even more aggressive; they defecated all over the house and threw things about.

“Eventually, fire and rescue personnel arrived to remove the monkeys from the house. The monkeys had killed two of our pet rabbits. Luckily, the children were not around during that incident, ” she said.

The monkeys can also be seen at the children’s playground.

There have been numerous incidents of alpha males fighting among themselves and the children would become afraid and return home, ” said Ong.

The monkeys have also bitten into telecom cables, wiring in the garden, and regularly open dustbins and rummage through the rubbish.

“Some of our gutters require regular cleaning because it is filled with rubbish left there by the monkeys, ” she complained.

Long-time Taman Gasing Indah resident Marie Stella said she sought refuge in her car once when the monkeys attacked her while she was gardening.

Her room was ransacked and it was a scene similar to an aftermath of a break-in.

“My composting area was damaged and my plants were uprooted. My fruit and flower trees were eaten.

“But my biggest concern is the safety of the residents here, ” she said.

Natural habitat destroyed

Another resident, Lee KL said when he moved to the neighbourhood in 1993, it was surrounded by lush greenery.

However, the rapid development that took place in the area around Bukit Gasing failed to take into account the impact on the environment, he said.

“A proper impact study should have been done before clearing the primates’ natural habitat.

“There were always monkeys in the hills but they never came to our houses as is the case now.”

Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez said the destruction of the Bukit Gasing green lung on the Kuala Lumpur side was

because of unsustainable development destroying the natural habitat of the monkeys as well as other flora and fauna.

“This has forced the monkeys to enter nearby housing areas for food in order to survive.

“I hope the Government has the courage to do the right thing instead of perpetuating a policy of unsustainable development at the expense of the environment and the people, ” he said.

Taman Gasing Indah Petaling Jaya Rukun Tetangga security and logistics head Alan Woo said Gasing Indah borders both Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, and the monkey menace has been affecting residents of both cities.

Woo also blamed the partial land clearing of Bukit Gasing on the Kuala Lumpur side for the monkey menace.

“These monkeys were not relocated and since they are desperate for food, they are entering houses to find something to eat.

“We have seen the most number of alpha males this year and they move in a troop of up to 30.

“We have been in talks with the authorities such as Perhilitan (Wildlife and National Parks Department) and they have been helpful in setting up traps.

“However, these monkeys are intelligent and have been able to avoid the traps.”

Woo said some visitors to Bukit Gasing were feeding the monkeys and this should be avoided as it discourages the animals from searching for food naturally.

“When there is a lack of readily available source of food, the monkeys become aggressive and start entering houses.

“I am an animal rescuer and I wouldn’t want to harm any animals but humans, especially

children should feel safe living in any neighbourhood, ” he added.

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