Treat them with respect, say residents
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.”
Siti Noorasyiah Abu Kassim feeding the monkeys at Teluk Chempedak, Kuantan, recently.