Good samaritan who saves animals, grieves over the 9 monkeys she couldn’t help
GEORGE TOWN: As empty streets and closed eateries have become a feature of the lockdown for the past year, a woman has taken up the role of an animal whisperer and feeder in Paya Terubong here, tending to their needs.
Ramani Karuppiah, a cleaner with the Bandar Baru Air Itam government health clinic nearby, not only feeds the strays but also treats and nurses injured animals. And these injured animals always “magically” appear before her near her apartment, she said.
“Who is going to take care of them? I pity them. They are like my children,” she told FMT.
The 59-year-old woman has treated over 300 animals, most of which were birds, monkeys, dogs and cats for the past 10 years at the Grand View Heights Apartment next to Bukit Kukus.
She spends most of her minimum wage salary on food and medication for injured animals. When met by FMT at her home recently, she had a bird with injured wings and a dog she rescued after it was attacked by some other dogs.
Ramani was the woman who regularly fed the nine monkeys that were found to be poisoned to death on Saturday at the foot of the hill opposite her apartment.© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Government health clinic cleaner Ramani Karuppiah looking out at Bukit Kukus, a hill where the monkeys would descend to savour her food daily.
She has become depressed over the incident involving the nine long-tailed macaques. She said she could have nursed the poisoned monkeys to health, but it was a little too late and overwhelming as most had died by the time she got to them.
She said after the incident, the larger group of monkeys on the hill did not come down, adding it was likely they were traumatised by the incident.
According to Ramani, the monkeys had never caused any trouble to the residents in the past 20 years she had lived there.
She said the monkeys would come down from the hill daily to feast on the rice, peanuts and bananas she left for them at the foot of the hill across her apartment. Her monthly expense on the animals sets her back about RM200 or more.
“I couldn’t take it, watching the monkeys climbing up breathless and later falling to the ground like flies. It was very sad to watch,” she said.
Ramani, who had tried to resuscitate a monkey who was foaming at the mouth, said she hoped the authorities would do something. Her son, Suresh Ganesan, 37, was sceptical the culprit would ever be caught, as there were no CCTV cameras at the cul-de-sac on Lorong Bukit Kukus.© Provided by Free Malaysia Today A Perhilitan officer looking at the site where the monkeys were found dead on Saturday. Soil samples have been taken so as to ascertain what was used to kill the nine long-tailed macaques.
“My mother spends more on these animals than herself,” the building technician said.
In the Saturday evening incident, Ramani dug a trench and buried all nine monkeys. Wildlife and national parks department (Perhilitan) officers later came to collect the carcasses for investigation.
The next day, many residents had come to offer flowers where the monkeys had been buried. A resident, who only wanted to be known as Ooi, said the monkeys, about 100 of them, would come down to forage for food and return back up.
“The Indian aunty (Ramani) has been feeding them and stray dogs around the corner daily. We also leave food whenever we can,” Ooi said.
A Perhilitan officer who wished to remain anonymous told FMT that an investigation paper has been opened and samples have been sent for chemical analysis, so as to ascertain the cause of the macaques’ death. – FMT
by Predeep Nambiar