In an attempt to avoid human-animal conflict and solve the monkey menace on farmers’ land, the Karnataka government has decided to develop a monkey park in Shivamogga district.
The park will be the first such in the state and will be set up on 100 acres of land at the Nagavalli forest in Hosanagara taluk, Shivamogga district. In a meeting with forest department officials on Tuesday, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa directed the Deputy Commissioner of the district to start acquiring the land to develop the park. During the meeting, Shivamogga MP B.Y. Raghavendra came up with the proposal and suggested a relocation action plan for monkeys, that enter farmland and damage crops, inside the park.
According to Raghavendra, monkeys are destroying farmers’ crops in Hosanagara, Thirthahalli and Sagar taluks of Shivamogga districts. “The menace of money is rampant in the Malnad areas, monkeys are entering fields to consume the horticulture crops and also farmers are scared of them. Hence the permanent solution is required. There is land available in the backwaters of the Sharavathi river for a monkey park, where the fruit-bearing trees can be planted for the monkeys,” said Raghavendra in the proposal.
Yediyurappa told forest department officials to visit Himachal Pradesh, Assam and New Delhi to study the setting up of a monkey park in the district.
According to the forest department officials, the proposed 100-acre monkey park will have fruit-bearing trees, water sources, and solar fence will be put up around the area to avoid monkeys venturing outside the park premises.
Meanwhile, wildlife activists from the Malnad area are against the proposed park for monkeys. Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Shivamogga-based wildlife activist Akhilesh Chipli said, “It is true that farmers are suffering due to the monkey menace in the district, but the government decision to isolate the monkey is a wrong concept and it won’t work. The monkeys are coming to the agricultural lands due to the destruction of natural habitat in the Malnad region and western ghats in the state. We, environmentalists, are opposing the proposal, already the similar kind of park set up in Himachal Pradesh is failed.”
According to Chipli, from the last three years around 10,000 hectares of land has been encroached to take up agricultural activities in the district. “Since the rapid encroachment of forest land and habitats of monkeys are declining, they are entering human habitats in search of food, the government should act against the encroachment of the forest land first to reduce the human-animal conflict,” he added.