Three north-east states – Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram – have “agreed to the idea” to receive some of Himachal’s monkeys in view of the growing population of the animal here. The “deal” will be an exchange — Himachal will receive “wild animals” from these states for exhibition in its zoos.
“We had detailed talks with Principal Chief Conservators of Forests (PCCFs) of all north-eastern states during a conference held in Delhi. Three states agreed to the idea of exchanging monkeys with some other wild animals, which we need in our zoos for exhibition purposes. Now, Himachal’s PCCF has written a formal letter to these states. Once their response comes in the writing, the process of translocation will start within next few months. Even if a few hundred monkeys are translocated, we will be happy,” said principal secretary (forest and wildlife) Tarun Kapoor.
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The move, it is hoped, will give some respite to people who have lost property, in case of farmers their crops, and even been injured by the wild monkey population in Shimla. The government has already started working in advance on modalities for transportation of monkeys to these states. The state government is ready to bear the cost as a measure to tackle monkey problem.
“There is already a protocol in place, framed by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for transportation of the wild animals under proper veterinary care and ensuring safety of the animals with arrangements of their timely feeding. All those will be followed in the matter,” said Kapoor.
The state’s wildlife department has decided to set-up a one-hectare ‘holding area’ near Taradevi, a town’s periperial forest zone. Around 500 to 800 monkeys will be detained after proper fencing of the identified site. The CZA norms allows detaining of wild animals for upto three months. Once these monkeys get adjusted to the new environment, the department will start their translocation process.
Incentives for monkey catchers have already been raised from Rs 300 to 500 per monkey and even Rs 700 per monkey in some cases. The Centre had earlier declared monkeys a vermin in 37 tehsils of the state in 10 districts. The move, however, does not seems to have reduced the menac”.
“We are writing to all the panchayats and educating them about legal measures. They are free to kill monkeys in the notified areas. The government, however, will not engage itself into killing of the monk”ys,” Kapoor told The Indian Express.
“Farmers don’t have the expertise to kill monkeys. It’s duty of the government to facilitate them otherwise there was no purpose of such measures as invoked under M”EF,” said Kuldeep Tanwar, President Himachal Kisan sabha. The government, under its sterilisation programme, had already sterilised 1.04 lakh monkeys since 2006-07.