GEORGE TOWN: Residents of an apartment building at a hillside in Paya Terubong here had a shock when they saw a troop of dead monkeys outside their homes, suspected to have been poisoned.
As they went to investigate, they spotted one more monkey stuck in between exposed roots of trees and too weak to move, writhing in pain.
Some of the residents scaled the rocky cliff to rescue the monkey, and they then tried various methods to keep the monkey alive, with some even bringing coconut water for it to drink in the hope of cleansing its body of the poison.
It was all to no avail. All nine monkeys died in the incident at about 6.30pm on Saturday.
Security guard S. Sivakumar, 49, who lodged a police report over the incident, said a friend told him about it.
“A friend called and informed me that the monkeys I’ve been feeding were dead.
“I rushed over and found nine of them dead and I suspect they’ve been poisoned.
“The monkeys have never caused any nuisance to residents in the area and they only come down to ask for food,” he added.
It is understood that officers from the state Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) have collected the carcasses for tests.
George Town Deputy OCPD Supt V. Saravanan confirmed the police report and said the case had been referred to Perhilitan.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) education officer NV Subbarow described the act of poisoning and killing the monkeys as ruthless, adding that CAP condemned the inhumane incident.
The monkeys are forced to come to the city in search of food due to loss of habitat, he said in a statement.
The monkeys, he added, could be chased away or residents could lodge complaints with Perhilitan so that teams be dispatched to catch the monkeys and release them back into the wild.
On Tuesday, a troop of over 40 monkeys leaping from house to house was spotted near the Penang Botanical Gardens.
Videoclips of their antics were recorded by a resident who believed the monkeys were out to look for food and not cause harm or attack humans.
It is believed that during the ongoing movement control, fewer people are venturing outside to hand out food to the monkeys, causing them to come out in search of sustenance.