Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monkey Murderers Still On The Prowl

Monkey killers still unknown

Wildlife Department continues probe into mystery culling at Bukit Gasing
Monday, February 21st, 2011 12:15:00
Bukit Gasing monkeys
SHOOTING SCENE: Up to 15 men armed with rifles were believed to have shot the monkeys near here in Bukit Gasing — Pic: Samsul Said

PETALING JAYA: The authorities are still scratching their heads over the identities of the men who slaughtered a colony of about 50 monkeys which had long inhabited Bukit Gasing and had posed a constant nuisance to residents at nearby Gasing Indah in Section 5 here last month.

The butchery, believed to have been conducted by up to 15 men armed with rifles, had ironically sparked an outcry from Gasing Indah residents because of the extreme method used in controlling the monkey population in the nearby forest.

The incident is also believed to be illegal as it was conducted without the consent of the Department of Wildlife And National Parks (Perhilitan).

The matter had been brought up to Perhilitan for their investigation by Selangor state executive councillor for tourism, consumer affairs and the environment Elizabeth Wong, after the Taman Gasing Indah Residents Association had first highlighted the matter to Petaling Jaya city councillor Derek Fernandez.

“The case is still under our investigation,” said Perhilitan's Selangor director, Rozidan Md Yassin, when contacted by The Malay Mail.

“However, we urge those who witnessed the illegal monkey culling to come forward and assist us in identifying the perpetrators."

The monkeys, believed to be longtailed macaques, are a protected species and a heavy fine will be imposed by Perhilitan on anyone who kill them.

It is understood only Perhilitan is allowed to conduct monkey culling operations. Other parties who wish to do so have to get Perhilitan's permission and have to be accompanied by its officers.

Eric Chew, vice-president of the residents association, said he had received emails from residents complaining of the illegal operation, believed to have taken place three weeks ago.

“One resident claimed the killings took place during a weekend morning and, according to him, the shooting continued for another three days."

Chew said the RA is concerned for the safety of residents as any surviving injured monkey may naturally become aggressive.

“We worry injured monkeys may, while foraging for food, harm residents. The monkeys may also attack anybody who ventures into the Bukit Gasing area."

A resident, K. Rajan, 57, believed the shooters did not wear any uniform. “My maid told me the men wore normal clothes and had arrived in cars without any markings.

"They brought along rifles, cages and voice recorders and had asked for permission to place the cages at a vacant area in front of my house."

Rajan also said after the shooting, he detected smells of rotting flesh emanating from the forest. "I had to close my windows and doors for a few days."

A maid for a nearby house, who identified herself as Yati, also said she detected the stench.

"At first, I thought it was the smell of dog poop outside the house but a friend told me the smell was from rotting monkey carcasses left behind in the forest."

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