VISITORS to the Taiping Lake Garden have been advised not to feed wild monkeys roaming around the park to prevent the primates from depending on humans for food.
Taiping Zoo director Dr Kevin Lazarus said there was an abundance of food in the surrounding jungle and as such the animals would be able to search for it.
However, he added, if humans started to feed them, the monkeys would eventually depend on humans for food.
“Some monkeys dare to get close to visitors at the park because, to them, humans mean food.
“Stop feeding them and the monkeys will then return to their natural habitat in the nearby jungle,” he said.
Lazarus was responding to a complaint by one The Star reader that a band of monkeys recently surrounded her while she was jogging at the park.
The reader said she had to remain calm and slowly walked away from the animals to avoid an attack.
Dr Lazarus said monkeys would attack when provoked and the best solution to make them return to their habitat was to stop feeding them.
Dr Lazarus believed that the monkey population at the park had increased over the years.
He said there were three types of monkeys at the park namely the pig-tailed macaque referred by locals as berok, long-tailed macaque or kera and leaf monkeys or lutong.
“My rough estimate is that there are about 140 monkeys at the park.
“The leaf monkey is not a nuisance because they feed on leaves,” he added.
A check at the park showed that the monkeys thrived on leftovers found in the rubbish bins placed by the Taiping Municipal Council around the area.