Singapore’s surprise guest: The mystery monkey of Clementi Woods Park

Photo: Silvered Leaf Monkey with a small baby in Kuala Selangor (Malaysia). Silvery lutungs are born with orange fur/Peter Gronemann
Photo: Silvered Leaf Monkey with a small baby in Kuala Selangor (Malaysia). Silvery lutungs are born with orange fur/Peter Gronemann

Tony Ng recently found himself exploring the charming enclave of Clementi Woods Park in Singapore, and the encounter that unfolded was nothing short of intriguing. In a candid Instagram post dated Sept. 6, he shared his astonishment at the vibrant wildlife teeming within this compact oasis.

While strolling along the pathways, a peculiar series of grunting noises abruptly piqued Ng’s curiosity. Initially, he suspected these sounds were the playful antics of wild boars, a common sight in Singapore’s natural pockets. However, what he encountered next defied his expectations.

Tracking the source of the enigmatic sounds, he stumbled upon a captivating sight—a mysterious monkey perched aloof on a tree branch.

“While walking along the path I heard some grunting noises repeatedly coming from somewhere; thought it was wild boars at first,” Ng said in his post. 

Ng followed the noise, but he didn’t find wild boars. Instead, the student at the National University of Singapore said he stumbled upon an unusual looking monkey perched on a tree branch.

“At first, I thought it was a Raffles’ banded langur. When I searched on Google, I realized it looked nothing like it,” Ng, a student at the National University of Singapore, told The Straits Times.

“It was just zoning out…. I was confused because it didn’t look like anything I had seen before.”

This enigmatic creature, as it turns out, was a silvered langur. However, the exact species of this newfound inhabitant remains a subject of intrigue, awaiting scientific clarification. 

Typically at home in the dense forests of Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, as documented by the New England Primate Conservancy, these elusive primates occasionally venture to Batam in the Riau Archipelago. 

They demonstrate adaptability by dwelling in mangrove, sub-coastal, bamboo, and swamp forests. Amidst this revelation, park officials in Singapore are advocating caution among the public, urging anyone who encounters the silvered langur to maintain a respectful distance.

How Choon Beng, NParks’ director of wildlife management and outreach spoke to The Straits Times, emphasizing the langur’s inherent shyness and the unlikelihood of it approaching humans. 

In a plea to the public, he advised against any attempts to approach or feed the creature, allowing it to maintain its natural composure. Furthermore, officials underscored the importance of avoiding flash photography, as it could potentially distress this newfound visitor.


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