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Let's stop the monkey business, NTU issues advisory after recent macaque sightings on campus

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Food, drinks, and now electronic devices - these are a few of a monkey’s favourite things.

A graduate student from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) found out the hard way, when a monkey took her earpods from her table and tried to take a bite out of them while she was attending an online meeting.

“I was so scared, I did nothing but scream. I am really afraid of them,” said Ms Tong, who declined to reveal her full name.

The incident took place on the evening of April 16 at the second level of The Hive, a building located in NTU, which has been nicknamed the “dim sum basket building” because of its structure. The building, in the south-west corner of the campus, is a stone’s throw from Yunnan Garden.

“The monkey might have realised the earpods weren’t food so it put them down on the handrails,” said Ms Tong, who added that her earpods were thankfully not damaged as they were protected by a case.

The graduate student has been studying at NTU for four months and has seen monkeys on campus twice.

A video posted on Chinese social media app Xiaohongshu last week showed another monkey sighting at The Hive.

In that video, a monkey can be seen rummaging through a rubbish bin and running away after taking a seemingly filled plastic bag out of it.

In an advisory issued to NTU students on April 20, the university urged students to stay at least three metres away from the animals and to not taunt or maintain direct eye contact with them.

Students were also advised to avoid eating and drinking while walking past monkeys and to avoid feeding them.

An NTU spokesman told The Straits Times that the university continues to work with the National Parks Board to manage the situation on campus, which may include relocating the macaques as they are wildlife protected under the law.

NTU has, in recent years, been beefing up its defences against the macaque issue.

A macaque appeared to make itself at home at The Hive in NTU. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MS TONG

 

In June 2022, it was reported that the university had worked with NParks to relocate two of the three frequently sighted macaques on its grounds to nature conservation areas.

The year before that, it replaced more than 1,200 rubbish bins with ones that have latches to prevent macaques from foraging for food.

“Hall residents are also reminded to keep their doors and windows securely closed and locked at all times, especially when they are not in their rooms, and to keep food out of sight and securely stored,” said the spokesman.

The university also encouraged residents to attend talks and workshops about learning how to live with wildlife, which are organised by the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore and the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, said the spokesman.

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