Communicating to Reduce Conflict Between Humans and Long-Tailed Macaques: A case study from Asahan village, Melaka

Aida Nasirah Abdullah, Kalthom Husain, Mohd Fauzi Kamarudin, Peter Denyer-Simmons, Mehmet Mehmet

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


Research on human-wildlife coexistence increasingly indicates that all contexts are peculiarly local, and that the involvement of a range of interested stakeholders will tend to improve outcomes for both humans and nonhuman animals. This study carried out in Asahan Village, Melaka, Malaysia looked at longstanding conflicts and disturbances caused by the long-tailed macaque to the humans inhabiting the village. The aim of the study was to listen and attend to the voices of several parties involved in the conflict - the villagers, the long-tailed macaques, the local authorities responsible for the conflict (Melaka Wildlife Department) and NGOs. Interviews were carried out with all human parties involved then analysed thematically and with reference to scholarship on human and non-human animal relations. The preliminary insights from each party suggest very different interests and points of view. The villagers are extremely unhappy with the current state of affairs – including ongoing costs of home modifications to keep monkeys outside, feelings of being under siege by approximately 500 monkeys, and other lifestyle restrictions. When reported to authorities, specific instances of conflict almost always lead the leanly staffed authorities to kill the monkey(s) involved in the conflict. Interestingly and importantly, the villagers and the authorities seldom communicate, and local advocacy on behalf of the monkeys seemed absent. NGOs are not generally consulted, rather their involvement in local decision making is often avoided. Without exchange of views or collective problem solving the longstanding inconveniences and conflicts between long-tailed macaque and villagers will continue. This paper ends with the suggestion that communicating the insights of each party involved in the conflict should be made a priority activity to improve conditions of coexistence for the monkeys and the villagers. Additionally, communicating education in reducing human-wildlife conflicts, changing attitudes of people towards longtailed macaque and increasing public awareness of the value of wildlife and wildlife habitats are essential.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 04 Jul 2017
EventAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2017 Annual Conference - University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 04 Jul 201707 Jul 2017 (Conference website ) (Conference website)


ConferenceAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2017 Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleCommunication worlds: Access, voice, diversity, engagement
OtherThe conference invited reflections on the worlds of communication we inhabit, create and reshape – from ancient, modern and future communication worlds through to colonial and postcolonial worlds, activist and start-up worlds, ecologies, ecosystems and environments.

As we can see from our various encounters with the internet and social media across the globe, different types of ‘worlding’ enable and/or inhibit our access to, voice, participation in and engagement with media and communication spheres. With these four concepts in mind, ANZCA 2017 sought to explore who has access to our symbolic worlds and who is excluded from them; what knowledges, skills, resources and strategies enable us to enter these worlds; and what forms of presence these environments support, as well as what absences they suggest. Our second theme explored the concepts of voice and listening – who decides, on what terms and with what consequences, when people are given platforms to speak? How and in what contexts are they heard? Media diversity was a third theme, inviting accounts of how we might reimagine communication worlds, policies, practices and platforms for the more effective expression of cultural diversity. Engagement, our final theme asked colleagues how we might invite and recruit people to communicate in our worlds, and how we might we gauge the depth, breadth or scope of their interests, responses and contributions.
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