Pri­mate Pas­sion

Tatler Singapore - - FACES PHILANTHRO­PY -

Pri­ma­tol­o­gist Andie Ang shares with Grace Ma her pas­sion to pro­tect and foster greater un­der­stand­ing of lo­cal en­dan­gered pri­mates

t may sound ironic, but Andie Ang’s in­ter­est in pri­mates was piqued af­ter she re­ceived a juvenile wild vervet mon­key as a gift. It was il­le­gally taken from Zam­bia by sailor friends of her rel­a­tives, who gifted it to her. She rem­i­nisces, “I was only 10 years old and did not fully grasp the dif­fer­ence be­tween a wild an­i­mal and a do­mes­tic pet. So I raised the mon­key like I would a pet dog un­til I learned, through watch­ing him ev­ery day, that he was mis­er­able chained up at home.” The mon­key was even­tu­ally repa­tri­ated back to Africa but the close-up ex­pe­ri­ence sparked a pas­sion in Andie to study pri­mates, be­gin­ning with a stint at the Sin­ga­pore Zoo, and later at Khao Yai Na­tional Park in Thai­land ob­serv­ing white-handed gib­bons. She en­joyed it so much that she con­tin­ued her re­search in the dif­fer­ent forests of Asia, and even­tu­ally pur­sued a doc­tor­ate project on leaf-eat­ing mon­keys in Viet­nam. To­day, Andie chairs the Raf­fles’ Banded Lan­gur Work­ing Group, which in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Wildlife Re­serves Sin­ga­pore, Na­tional Parks Board, and Jane Goodall In­sti­tute Sin­ga­pore (JGIS). The project aims to con­serve the Raf­fles’ banded lan­gurs, which are black and white mon­keys na­tive to Sin­ga­pore. There are cur­rently less than 60 lan­gurs left in Sin­ga­pore, so the group hopes to pro­tect and re­store their habi­tats; gather data on them through long-term re­search and mon­i­tor­ing; and se­cure the nec­es­sary re­sources and com­mit­ment for its con­ser­va­tion in Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia. The ini­tia­tive is funded by the Wildlife Re­serves Sin­ga­pore Con­ser­va­tion Fund and has the long-term goal of continuing its con­ser­va­tion work for the next 10 to 15 years. As vice-pres­i­dent of JGIS—THE Sin­ga­pore chap­ter of the global non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion

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