Treat them with re­spect, say res­i­dents

New Straits Times - - News / Nation -

KUAN­TAN: Res­i­dents here have come out in de­fence of the mon­keys liv­ing near Teluk Chempedak here fol­low­ing an al­le­ga­tion that a troop of mon­keys at­tacked a South Korean tourist near the famed beach.

Siti Noorasyiah Abu Kas­sim, 36, who has been feeding the mon­keys over the last three years, rub­bished the al­le­ga­tion.

“If you treat the mon­keys with re­spect, they will not ha­rass you. In all the years I have been feeding them here, I have not lost my nose (from monkey bites),” she said, as she put a sweet be­tween her teeth and al­lowed a monkey to pick it from her mouth.

She was re­spond­ing to me­dia re­ports that on Mon­day, South Korean Py­o­eng Seok, 69, was set upon by a troop of mon­keys while he was vis­it­ing Teluk Tongkang, ad­ja­cent to Teluk Chempedak.

Py­o­eng was re­ported to have fallen on some rocks and in­jured his head, and was warded at KPJ Kuan­tan Spe­cial­ist Hos­pi­tal here.

Noorasyiah said the mon­keys come to Teluk Chempedak in search of food due to rapid de­vel­op­ment that had cleared large swathes of Pa­hang’s forests.

Mo­hamad Han­iff Wahid, 30, who mans a pay­ment counter for a pub­lic re­stroom at Teluk Chempedak, urged vis­i­tors not to make kick­ing mo­tions with their legs when near the mon­keys as they saw that as ag­gres­sion.

An el­derly owner of an eatery there took a more cau­tious ap­proach, how­ever, say­ing that the act of giv­ing food to the mon­keys had made them bold enough to ha­rass pa­trons at her eatery.

Pa­hang Wildlife and Na­tional Parks (Per­hili­tan) di­rec­tor Ah­mad Azhar Mo­hammed ad­vised the pub­lic to avoid feeding the mon­keys there as they could be­come ag­gres­sive.

“Mon­keys are car­ri­ers of zoonotic dis­eases (dis­eases that can be trans­ferred from an­i­mal to hu­man), there­fore one needs to take preven­tive mea­sures by avoid­ing the an­i­mals,” he said.

Azhar said Per­hili­tan had set up traps at Teluk Chempedak to catch the pri­mates.

How­ever, he said, the pub­lic had opened the traps to free the mon­keys.

Azhar warned the pub­lic against any such acts in fu­ture, which amounted to ob­struct­ing Per­hili­tan from car­ry­ing out its du­ties.

“Per­hili­tan of­fi­cers mon­i­tor the traps daily to trans­fer trapped mon­keys to forested ar­eas.”

PIC BY MUHAM­MAD ASYRAF SAWAL

Siti Noorasyiah Abu Kas­sim feeding the mon­keys at Teluk Chempedak, Kuan­tan, re­cently.

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