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Himachal

Posted at: Jul 12, 2018, 12:30 AM; last updated: Jul 12, 2018, 12:30 AM (IST)

Plans to sterilise simians by tracking their feeding areas

Monkey menace

  • The eight forest beats of Jakhu, Summer Hill, Glen, Kaithu, Khalini, Fagli, Tutikandi and Bharari have the highest concentration of monkeys
  • The figure in Shimla indicates that their estimated density is about 0.75 group per sq kms. This means that there is at least one troupe of monkeys in each sq km with each troupe having more than 30 monkeys
Plans to sterilise simians by tracking their feeding areas

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 11

In a change of strategy to check the booming population of monkeys in the capital, the Forest Department has decided to sterilise 70 per cent simians by mapping their roosting, troupe size and feeding areas so as to enable catchers to capture them early in the morning.

The Wildlife wing of the department has constituted four teams which will undertake mapping of their roosting and feeding sites in the town so that they could be caught around 4 am before they wake up. It has also been decided to make use of nets to catch them.

As part of a more scientific strategy to check their numbers, GPS location and videography of catching and releasing of monkeys will be maintained. Studies have indicated that monkeys become more aggressive and there is increase in their breeding instinct if only a few monkeys from a troupe caught and sterilised.

Efforts will be made to bring professional monkey catchers from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and also start training of catchers in Himachal as a pilot project. There is a proposal to enhance the amount from Rs 150 to Rs 300 if monkey catchers bring a pregnant or sterilised monkey, which have to be left after being examined by veterinary doctors.

The results of the last monkey census, undertaken in July 2015, had indicated that there were about 2,452 monkeys in Shimla, which is higher than their number reflected in the previous census undertaken in 2013. The eight forest beats of Jakhu, Summer Hill, Glen, Kaithu, Khalini, Fagli, Tutikandi and Bharari were found to be having the highest concentration of monkeys.

The department is finding it difficult to rope in sufficient number of monkey catchers despite Rs 700 being fixed for a monkey. They had sought a hike of Rs 150 in case of a pregnant or sterilised monkey as the same amount of effort goes into the exercise.

“It is with inputs based on the study of behavioural aspects and population dynamics of monkeys that we will identify the gaps and adopt a more effective strategy,” said Ramesh C Kang, Principal Chief Conservator-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden.

He added that a seminar would be held here on August 8 to seek suggestions from experts who have been associated with checking the growing population of simians elsewhere.

The monkey figure in Shimla indicates that their estimated density is about 0.75 group per sq kms, which is very high. “This means that there is at least one troupe of monkeys in each sq km with each troupe having more than 30 monkeys,” said a forest official. Despite the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest declaring monkeys as vermin within the Shimla MC on March 29, 2015, not even a single monkey was killed by anyone within six months.

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