SEREMBAN: The Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) has been forced to cull seven adult lotong (dusky leaf monkeys, also known as dusky langurs) in an operation in Port Dickson as these had caused serious injuries to humans on three occasions this year.
Perhilitan said all seven monkeys were aggressive and had to be put down after attempts to trap or relocate them failed.
It also debunked reports on social media that its officers 20 dusky leaf monkeys were shot and killed in an operation at Batu 2, Jalan Pantai on May 19.
"There were no juveniles culled in the operation as mentioned in the viral reports.
"The lotong killed were not timid as they had attacked humans on several occasions," Perhilitan said in a statement on Wednesday (May 25).
It said the most serious incident was reported on Jan 21 when a woman was bitten.
"The victim suffered serious injuries to her head and had to be warded at Port Dickson Hospital," it said.
Perhilitan said the carcasses of the monkeys were managed as per standard operating procedure.
It said a picture of a monkey carcass on a tree which went viral must have been taken before the operation ended.
Perhilitan said the stretch between Batu 2 and 11 was a roaming area for four groups comprising 140 and 160 wild monkeys.
"In total, we have received eight complaints of primates attacking and being a nuisance to residents in the area this year, of which three cases were of serious injuries to humans.
"To ensure public safety, we have conducted several operations to chase the lotong away as well as to trap and relocate them.
"However, we were unable to trap the aggressive group," it added.
Perhilitan also said it had considered several options and eventually decided to cull them.
Its decision is in line with provisions under the Wildlife Protection Act, which allows it to rid any wildlife which causes harm to humans or property, it noted.
"Perhilitan officers were not rude to those who objected to the operation as claimed on social media," it said.
It also urged the public to be wary if they come across the wild monkeys in the area.
"Let us work together to resolve this wildlife conflict," it said.
Complaints can be forwarded to the department through Perhilitan hotline at 1-800 88 5151 or www.wildlife.gov.my.
Several groups, including wildlife experts and non-governmental organisations, have criticised Perhilitan over the culling, arguing that other methods could have been used to deal with the primates which are generally non-aggressive.