Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp 2909–2926 | Cite as

Status of the long-tailed macaque Macaca fascicularis in Singapore and implications for management

  • John Chih Mun ShaEmail author
  • Michael D. Gumert
  • Benjamin P. Y.-H. Lee
  • Agustin Fuentes
  • Subaraj Rajathurai
  • Sharon Chan
  • Lisa Jones-Engel
Original Paper


The long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) population of the island-state of Singapore consists of ca. 1,218–1,454 individuals. About seventy percent of the population (ca. 1,027 individuals) is concentrated in both Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves, a system of reservoirs and forest reserves located in the center of Singapore. This core population resides mainly along perimeter forest areas of the reserve system, which is bordered by residential and recreational areas (e.g., parks and golf courses) and encircled by expressways. Periphery sub-populations (ca. 427 individuals) persist in forest fragments throughout Singapore mainland and on 5 offshore islands. Much of the Singaporean macaque population overlaps with human settlement and these commensal groups are mainly distributed close to roads, parks and residential areas. At least 70% of these groups are habituated to human presence and at least 50% to food provisioning. Moreover, commensal groups have more individuals and have higher infant:adult female ratios than non-commensal groups. The close association of habituated macaque groups living in human environments has led to increasing human-macaque conflict in Singapore. The overlap is also associated with human-induced population loss resulting from road accidents (2.4%); and trapping efforts (14%) aimed at ameliorating conflict issues. Consequently, it is important to better understand how humans are affecting macaque populations. In order to mitigate human-macaque conflict and at the same maintain a sustainable macaque population in Singapore, there is an urgent need for wildlife management strategies aimed at minimizing the extent of human–macaque conflict. Such strategies should include designing appropriate buffers around reserve areas, revised urban development plans, and managing the behavior of people interfacing with macaques.


Macaca fascicularis Wild-life management Human-macaque conflict Singapore Primate populations 



Agri-Veterinary Authority of Singapore


Bukit Timah Nature Reserves


Central Catchment Nature Reserves


Geographic Information Systems


National Parks Board


Nature Reserves


Public Utilities Board


Statistical Package for the Social Sciences



We wish to thank the National Parks Board, Singapore for the initiation and full support of this project over the contracted period, in particular to Mr. Wong Tuan Wah (Director, Conservation Division). Field support and assistance and information was provided by various individuals and institutions at different junctures of this project, most notably primary field assistants Lim Tat Loon and William Ng; and all the colleagues from the Central Nature Reserves Branch, the Biodiversity Centre; Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore; the Singapore Zoo; and students from the University of Notre Dame. The Training Resource Management Centre of the Ministry of Defense provided permission and support for surveys in the military protected areas. This project also gained much insight through discussions with and advice from a number of people, most notably Dr. Richard Corlett (University of Hong Kong), Dr. Peter Lucas (George Washington University); Dr. Gregory Engel (University of Washington), Dr. Wong Che-lok (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Dr. Goro Hanya (Kyoto Primate Research Centre), Dr. Hugh Tan (National University of Singapore) and Dr. R.F.W Barnes (University California Davis).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Chih Mun Sha
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michael D. Gumert
    • 3
  • Benjamin P. Y.-H. Lee
    • 1
  • Agustin Fuentes
    • 4
  • Subaraj Rajathurai
    • 5
  • Sharon Chan
    • 1
  • Lisa Jones-Engel
    • 6
  1. 1.Central Nature Reserve BranchNational Parks BoardSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Conservation and Research DepartmentWildlife Reserves SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Division of PsychologySchool of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  5. 5.Strix Wildlife ConsultancySingaporeSingapore
  6. 6.International ProgramsUniversity of Washington-NPRCSeattleUSA

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