Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dusky Leaf Monkey spotted in Singapore

I was told that the Dusky Leaf-monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus) was spotted by Hazelina Yeo on 19 Feb 2008, around 6.50pm. Wow!

According to The Primata website, the dusky leaf-monkey lives in the countries of Burma, Malaysia and Thailand. Don't think this is native in Singapore, so this might be an escapee.

This species prefers to live in closed primary forests, but is also found in old-growth secondary forests, plantation forests, and urban forests. It spends most of its time in the upper canopy levels of the forest.

The dusky leaf-monkey is a folivorous (leaf eating) species, but it will also consume fruit and flowers. Young leaves constitute a high proportion (52%) of the diet for this species. I was told that this monkey was spotted eating rubber leaves at the rubber tree.

All photos credit to Hazelina Yeo.


Ivan said...

Very intriguing, considering that if I recall correctly, the Singapore Zoo does not exhibit this species. I wonder how it got here then; illegal pet that escaped? Released by irresponsible owner who finally realised the difficulties of keeping a pet monkey?

Whatever the case, I wonder if a 'rescue' mission should be mounted. This monkey is likely to be very lonely.

Joe Lai said...

I have just informed ACRES about it. I think it will be in safer hands before some idiot try to capture it and injure it in the process. Or equally worse, it ends up in the zoo as a slave.

Haniman said...

I don't understand why a perfectly normal,healthy looking native specimen must be 'rescued' just becos we found it in an area not known to us to be its regular range.habitats have shrunk,forest corridors have been linked so its higly plausible that this speciemen managed to make its way to the uni compund while foraging.Social animals like primates do get dispersed while foraging together.They also do this in search of mates or better feeding grounds so as not to compete with other more dominant members of the troop.Whatever the hypothesis, this monkey has its reason for making an appearence in the uni compound.I say leave it alone and appreciate its presence.What are we to do with this seemingly 'lonely' monkey if we were to rescue it?Send to Zoo? Send to ACRES?Can we even catch the monkey?
On whether its an escapee of someone's pet i have to say maintaining this species is not easy esp if you're not an expert.Folivores like these require a variety of leaves species to mainatain good health.This specimen looks too good to be from a house that kept it as a pet.I doubt anyone with sound knowledge on primates or primate diet was keeping it as a pet.
Maybe there is an isolated population unbeknownst to the experts at NUS or NParks.Or maybe such information was never made public.So an appearence by such a specimen at a location not usual to them by many is deem as an escapee, a 'lost and lonely' animal that has to be rescued.
My guess is the monkey strayed while foraging with the troop or it was trying to get away from a more agressive member that has been pestering it.

Ron Yeo said...

Just wondering what makes Haniman so sure that this is a native species, even though there were no records of it even in the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia.

The species recorded in Singapore is the banded leaf-monkey (Presbytis femoralis), not dusky leaf-monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus). So it was not just out of its regular range, but out of its regular country as well.

It's highly unlikely that all these years zoologists in Singapore have never even seen a single dusky leaf-monkey if there's really a troop climbing around in our forests.

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