Perhilitan: Monkey business tops list of complaints in Johor

Disturbances caused by monkeys top the list of complaints to Johor Perhilitan. — Filepic

CONTRARY to popular belief, monkeys make up the highest number of reported human-wildlife conflicts in Johor, says the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

Johor Perhilitan director Aminuddin Jamin said many people were under the impression that such conflicts mostly involved elephants due to frequent media reports and social media posts.

“In the past three years, about 65% of the complaints we received were regarding disturbances caused by monkeys.

“Since 2021, we have received 3,332 reports related to monkeys, 728 involving wild boars, 463 on elephants and 87 concerning tigers,” he told StarMetro. Johor Perhilitan is responsible for 49 forests in the state spanning an area of more than 335,000ha.

Besides ensuring trees in the forests are protected, the department is also in charge of the ecological balance between wild animals and plants in those areas.

Aminuddin said monkey and wild boar conflicts happened statewide while elephant conflicts mostly took place in Mersing, Kota Tinggi, Kluang, Segamat and Batu Pahat.

“The incidents usually take place in proximity to the animals’ natural habitat.

“These areas are exposed to wildlife threats, especially when they are close to agricultural land and housing estates, where it is easy for the animals to find food,” he said.

In total, Johor Perhilitan received 1,564 complaints involving human-wildlife conflicts last year.

This compares to 1,552 complaints in 2022 and 1,648 incidents in 2021.

Aminuddin: People should not take matters into their own hands when faced with wild animals.Aminuddin: People should not take matters into their own hands when faced with wild animals.

In the first three months of this year, Perhilitan received 360 complaints about such incidents in Johor.

“Based on our records from 2020 to the present, there have been nine cases of human-wildlife conflicts or wildlife crossings that resulted in fatalities involving either humans or animals,” said Aminuddin.

“Besides wild animals destroying crops and properties, we also recorded 58 cases of wildlife attacks and road accidents during the same period,” he said.

He reminded the public not to take matters into their own hands when faced with wild animals as this would endanger both parties.

“Immediately lodge a report with Perhilitan for us to take the necessary steps to ensure safety of both humans and wildlife.

“We will dispatch our Wildlife Conflict Control Unit to the location to investigate and verify the complaint.

“After that, we will determine the best course of action to address the problem.

“Often, certain complaints require a longer time to resolve if continued surveillance is needed,” he said.

Translocation of wildlife also depends on the species involved, he highlighted.

If necessary, the wild animals would be caught and released to their natural habitat such as forest reserves or other wildlife reserves nearby, he said.

Aminuddin said translocating wildlife such as elephants required considerable time and cost due to the animal’s nature.

“The cost to translocate just one elephant is between RM50,000 and RM70,000, covering capture, logistics, food and operation execution.

“When we translocated two male elephants from Jalan Kluang-Renggam to Taman Negara in February, it took us about two weeks to stake them out before successfully capturing them,” he said.

The wild animals had reportedly damaged a farm and tile factory that were along the elephant migration route, so a translocation operation was carried out.

Aminuddin said the department had about 110 staff taking care of administration, enforcement, protection and capturing wildlife.

“Perhilitan also employs a team specifically trained in handling wild elephants, which requires particular skills and an understanding of their behaviour,” he added.

The public can get in touch with Johor Perhilitan at 07-223 0580 on complaints or wildlife sightings. — By YEE XIANG YUN

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