PETALING JAYA: A restaurant operator has filed suit in the Seremban High Court against the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) over the culling of dusky leaf monkeys in Port Dickson on May 19.
The suit, which named the Perhilitan director-general and the Energy and Natural Resources Minister as defendants, was filed by Nurul Azreen Sultan and a wildlife advocacy group, Malaysia Wildlife Rights Association (Hidup).
The suit is asking for the court to declare that the killing of the animals, also known locally as lotong, was illegal.
Nurul Azreen, 28, from Taman Raja Zainal, said the killing of the animals just outside the fence of her house was uncalled for, adding that they had coexisted in the area for decades with no untoward incident.
Claiming to have witnessed the shooting, Nurul Azreen said she heard gunshots that day.
“It was then the Hari Raya Puasa period and I assumed it was the sound of firecrackers. Then, a neighbour came running to say Perhilitan officers were shooting the lotong.
“I ran to the back and saw the monkeys bloodied and their carcasses; some were on the ground, some were still hanging on the trees. Some were dragging themselves into the bushes after being shot.
“There were adult and even juvenile lotong. One was still a baby,” she said yesterday.
In an earlier statement, Perhilitan had said that it was forced to cull seven adult dusky langurs in an operation in Port Dickson as these animals had caused serious injuries to humans on three occasions this year.
The department said all seven monkeys were aggressive and had to be put down after attempts to trap or relocate them had failed.
It also denied claims that 20 dusky leaf monkeys were shot and killed in the operation at Batu 2, Jalan Pantai, on May 19.
The department said it received 220 complaints on dusky langurs last year, involving one human death and two cases of injury.
The shooting caused an uproar among Port Dickson residents and wildlife advocates.
Nurul Azreen claimed she checked with the community clinic and the Port Dickson Hospital about an incident of a teacher being attacked by a lotong but found nothing.
Lawyer Rajesvaran Nagarajan, who filed the suit on behalf of Nurul Azreen and Hidup, said the plaintiffs were not requesting for damages or costs but a declaration that the killing of the endangered species was illegal and that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
Hidup representative Sharifah Sofia Syed Hussein said it was supporting the suit as the dusky leaf monkey was a protected species.
“These animals were peacefully coexisting with residents of Taman Raja Zainal but were shot down by the very people supposed to protect them,” said Sharifah Sofia.
The Star has contacted Perhilitan and the ministry but has yet to receive any response as at press time.