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Creatures pushed to the brink

Creatures pushed to the brink

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Sripriya Satish

I was taking a stroll around my apartment complex when I spotted a monkey climbing swiftly across the windowsills. It was trying to open the windows of random apartments and was determined to lay its hands on food in any of them. I informed the security staff about the monkey and then forgot all about it. The next day, I saw a post in our community group on social media — it showed the picture of a messy kitchen with food items strewn all over the floor. The caption explained that a monkey had entered the kitchen when there was no one in the house and had caused havoc. Sympathy messages were pouring in and the resident had requested the community office to curb the monkey menace.

The incident reminded me of the leopard scare in a Bengaluru residential area a couple of months ago. The media splashed the news along with CCTV footage of the leopard taking a leisurely walk around the apartment premises. The society residents were warned to remain inside and not venture out alone under any circumstances. Ultimately, after nine days, forest officials captured the wild animal, providing a huge relief to the residents.

These episodes made me sit back and think. Be it monkeys or leopards, why would they roam about in places where people live? Have these animals entered our territory or have we encroached upon their habitat? All said and done, it’s we who are the culprits. Are we not?

According to the Living Planet Report 2020, humans encroaching upon habitats poses a huge threat to biodiversity; humanity’s increasing destruction of nature is having a catastrophic impact on wildlife populations. Nearly three billion birds have died in the past 50 years because of habitat loss in North America. In India, 12 per cent of the wild mammal species are threatened with extinction, including the Bengal tiger and the golden langur. Larger animals, particularly in freshwater habitats, are in greater danger of becoming extinct.

With the no-holds-barred construction of high-rise buildings, green spaces are shrinking to accommodate the burgeoning human population — it is wild animals that are paying the price. American animal rights activist Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has said: ‘Animals are like us, endangered species on an endangered planet, and we are the ones who are endangering them, it and ourselves. They are innocent sufferers in a hell of our own making.’

So, the next time we spot a monkey in our house or residential complex, should we consider it a menace or should we pity it? Food for thought!


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