Now Reading
Bread And Circuses: The Misguided Kindness Threatening Penang’s Wildlife

Bread And Circuses: The Misguided Kindness Threatening Penang’s Wildlife

In a well-intentioned but misguided act of kindness, a woman at Penang’s Botanic Gardens has been caught feeding wild monkeys despite clear signage prohibiting such behaviour.

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter, or Telegram and WhatsApp channels for the latest stories and updates.

At the iconic Moon Gate arch in Penang’s Botanic Gardens, a peculiar sight caught the attention of local resident Suthakar Kathirvaloo on 18 June.

Amidst the lush greenery and the usual scatter of food left for the gardens’ resident monkeys and pigeons, a woman had taken her generosity a step further, carefully arranging slices of bread on a tray for the macaques.

While the woman’s intentions may have been pure, her actions directly contradicted the numerous garden signages prohibiting feeding the wildlife.

Suthakar, a former journalist and news editor, documented the incident through photos and videos, hoping to raise awareness about the importance of adhering to these rules.

The Deaf Ears of Defiance: When Advice Falls on Barren Ground

As Suthakar captured the scene, he overheard a conversation between the woman and a passing hiker.

The hiker gently reminded her that the monkeys could find their own food in the jungle.

The woman, however, seemed undeterred by this advice and continued with her feeding ritual.

Troubled by the situation, Suthakar approached the on-duty guards at the Botanic Gardens office, only to find an apparent lack of enforcement.

The Futility of Unenforced Rules: A Failure in Wildlife Conservation

Despite the guards’ acknowledgement that feeding the wildlife was prohibited, they seemed reluctant to intervene, with one guard hesitating to approach the woman even after being directly informed of her actions.

This incident raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the gardens’ management and the guards’ role there.

If the signage and the threat of an RM500 fine are not being enforced, what purpose do they serve?

Are they merely a façade, a pretence of conservation efforts without real teeth?

The Unintended Consequences of Misplaced Kindness

The consequences of feeding wild animals extend far beyond the momentary satisfaction of the humans involved.

It can lead to a dangerous dependence on human food, alter the animals’ natural behaviours, and potentially cause health issues.

Moreover, it can increase the likelihood of human-wildlife conflicts as animals become more accustomed to approaching people for food.

The situation at Penang’s Botanic Gardens is a microcosm of a larger issue – the delicate balance between human compassion and the need for responsible wildlife management.

No matter how well-intentioned, our actions can have unintended and harmful consequences for the creatures we share this planet with.

As Suthakar’s story spreads, it is hoped that it will serve as a wake-up call for the Botanic Gardens’ management and the public.

This incident is not an isolated case but rather a symptom of a long-standing problem that has plagued the gardens for years.

Share your thoughts with us via TRP’s FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Threads.

Get more stories like this to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter.

© 2024 The Rakyat Post. All Rights Reserved. Owned by 3rd Wave Media Sdn Bhd