Thursday, 12 June 2014

Banded Leaf Monkeys!

In Singapore, the word 'Monkey' often refers to the ever common Long Tailed Macaque. They are found in every corner of our forests and have now spread to urban areas too. Many of us forget that we actually have another species of monkey - the critically endangered Banded Leaf Monkey, which was at one point in time thought to be extinct in Singapore.

During the mid 1980s, the population of banded leaf monkeys hit a low of around 10 individuals; a single troop deep in the forests of the central catchment nature reserve. Their future seemed bleak. However, four years ago, National University of Singapore student Andie Ang found that the monkeys were hanging on and that the population had grown to about forty individuals. There was hope.

The banded leaf monkey is dark grey with with paler lips and a grey underside. Their tails are often even longer than their body length. it is an arboreal monkey and unlike the long tailed macaque, it rarely descends to the ground. Being very shy, they are hardly seen. I was exceedingly excited when I encountered this small group of about four monkeys passing through the forest. I initially thought they were the usual macaques, but when I looked up into the canopy, I saw black monkeys! The group seemed to be on the move in search of food.

It's a relief to know that they are still surviving. However, I think that there isn't enough awareness about their story. While research is quietly going on in the background to uncover more about them so as to conserve them, people need to know about them. The banded leaf monkey is Singapore's reminder that nature is fragile and needs to be respected.



  1. Wow! I've been wanting to see these for ages. Where did you go to see them?

  2. Hi! I chanced upon at Upper Seletar Reservoir park actually. It's odd since that place is rather disturbed. Good luck!