Tatler Singapore

Primate Passion


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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