THE STAR: 26.06.2009
[size=150]Wild monkeys under threat[/size]
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: Monkeys, some of them protected by law, are being trapped and sold as pets and, worse, for their meat.
This is occurring at the Tudan Resettlement Scheme in Kuala Baram, near here, where some 6,000 squatters have been relocated.
The whole area was forested 10 years ago and filled with wildlife but recently, more than 1,000ha of land has been cleared for squatters to set up their resettlement homes.
And the wildlife in the area has become the target of those living there.
The hunting has been made much easier as the animals have been forced out of the shrinking jungle to forage for food, putting them into direct contact and confrontation with humans.
During a check following a tip-off, The Star managed to locate and rescue a monkey a long-tailed macaque kept under miserable conditions.
The adult monkey was kept in a tiny cage measuring less than two feet by two feet at a house in one of the six resettlement estates in the area.
It could not stand upright and kept biting the cage out of desperation. When approached, the owner said he obtained the monkey from a neighbour who did not want the animal any more because it was getting too aggressive.
This monkey has been kept like this since it was a baby. It is too fierce to be released. I may want to slaughter it soon, the man, who declined to be named, said.
When told that the monkey was a protected animal and that it was against the law to keep them, he replied that there were many others in his neighbourhood who also kept the animals.
Asked whether it was possible to buy one of the monkeys, he said one could place an order. I know people who can trap them in a nearby forest or shoot them using blowpipes, he said.
Other residents in the area said baby and adult monkeys could be ordered and the little ones could fetch up to RM200.
The man said the hunters used too much poison in their darts and the monkeys become very weak.
If they are too weak, they will be slaughtered. Their meat can be eaten, he said.
The man agreed to hand over the monkey when told that an official report against him could be lodged with the Wildlife Department.
Checks around the neighbourhood revealed that there were other houses that had monkeys chained or caged.
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) state director Datuk Len Taliff Salleh, when informed of the situation, ordered his officers in Miri to investigate and put a stop to the hunting.
This sort of inhumane behaviour must be stopped. Members of the public who have information on this sort of cruelty must inform us fast so that we can act, he said, thanking The Star for the tip-off.
The rescued monkey was handed over to the Miri SFC state asset protection unit officer, Wong Chin Meng. He said the monkey would be released in the Lambir National Park.