According to The Vibes, a family of about 20 endangered dusky leaf monkeys, known also as langurs or lutungs, were killed by Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) personnel in Port Dickson on 19 May.
It is understood only two of the primates from the same family survived the shooting that took place on Wednesday morning, while one is believed to be seriously injured after being shot.
Perhilitan had supposedly acted on a public complaint of aggressive monkeys in the area, but residents rubbished this, saying the lutungs are a shy species afraid to even approach humans.
The alleged massacre was exposed by a resident of government quarters in Batu Dua, Nurul Azreen Sultan took to Facebook to highlight the killing of the langurs. According to Azreen, she heard more than 20 loud bangs behind her house that morning, which she initially thought were fireworks going off.
Azreen said the incident has been traumatising for her and her neighbours, who have never had any issues with the langurs.
“The most upsetting thing was when my neighbour saw the mother langur being shot and falling to the ground. The mother langur then tried to reach out to her infant on the tree, but the Perhilitan officer killed the baby, too,” she said.
Azreen noted that the Perhilitan officer in charge of the operation later told her father via a WhatsApp message that they had to act on the complaint from an adjacent teachers’ quarters of a monkey attack in the area. However, Azreen said that the attack happened months ago and there is no direct route for the langurs via the wooded area.
When asked by a neighbour through WhatsApp if the Perhilitan officers knew the primates were langurs, one of them replied: “I know my field of work”.
For now, Azreen said she has lodged a police report following the incident and wants action to be taken against Perhilitan for the killing of the langurs.
“If Perhilitan received a complaint from the teachers’ quarters, they should have gone there and addressed the issue, not come here and kill the langurs,” she urged.
Meanwhile, The Gibbon Conservation Society’s urged the department and police to launch an investigation into the incident under Section 86 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and other related laws.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the dusky langur (trachypithecus obscurus) is categorised as endangered, with a decreasing population trend.