Who’s the savage one? Man or beast?

Two interesting, and sympathetic, letters to the press in response to this article.


I am surprised there’s no letter overtly taking the human side. Is it just a coincidence or are people really more aware and tolerant of the non-human life struggling to eke out a living in our midst?

Letter 1

April 1, 2008
Article gave macaques a human face

I READ with great interest Dr Michael D. Gumert’s article last Tuesday, ‘How macaques and humans can live together’.

Wildlife and conservation articles are often dry and dull, yet Dr Gumert managed to convey his message by giving the macaques a human face, while not compromising on facts.

I have been a victim of teeth-baring macaques during runs in MacRitchie Reservoir. I’ve had energy drinks stolen and emptied by these creatures. These unhappy experiences caused me to fear long- tailed macaques and see them as a nuisance.

Never did I realise macaques bare their teeth to show submission, nor did I realise they steal our food because we first feed them and inadvertently cause them to become dependent on us. Imagine, these poor creatures have lost the ability to find their own food in the wild.

Chua Shuyi (Miss)

Letter 2

April 5, 2008
Who’s the savage one? Man or beast?

I REFER to Ms Chua Shuyi’s letter on Tuesday, ‘Article gave macaques a human face’. Whales, elephants, the American bison and a host of others are either on the threshold of extinction or have passed into extinction.

At present, the American bison is being nurtured (bred) in national reserves to try to pull it from the threshold of no return. The pitbull was bred on purpose by genetic mixture to produce a savage animal to fight the bull in the arena. If we look at it, in its proper perspective, both the bull and the pitbull are not enemies and would rather go their way in peace. Man, arbitrarily, brings them together in the ring, to satisfy his sadistic craving in the form of such ‘entertainment’. When the pitbull is kept as a pet and it attacks or kills a human, the animal is killed.

Where does the culpability for savagery lie? Does it lie with the dog which was programmed to be this way or does it lie with the human species which programmed the animal? Ms Chua got it right when she said we feed the macaque until it becomes dependent on us and then we blame the macaque for this dependency.

There is a growing awareness of certain sections of the human population who are dedicated to the saving of animals from cruelty and from pushing them into extinction. The numbers are growing and it is hoped in time there will be great eradication of cruelty and killing. There can be no absolute eradication given the human species’ irresistible compulsion to kill even each other. To believe otherwise would be specious.

Dudley Au


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