The wildlife wing of the forest department on Tuesday confirmed deaths of monkeys after sterilisation but claimed sterilisation was being done as per international standards and techniques adopted in Hong Kong.
According to animal rights activists,nearly 700 monkeys have died after the state government started sterilisation of monkeys to control their population. The deaths,say some reports,were caused by mishandling and stuffing of the monkeys in small cages.
Since inception of monkey sterilisation centre at Gopalpur in July 2009,out of 13,345 monkeys captured,only 178 monkeys have died. The mortality rate is 1.27 per cent of the total monkeys captured, said a senior official of the wildlife wing.
The wildlife officials asserted that Himachal was a pioneer state and had adopted techniques of monkey sterilisation after intensive research and exploring all possible options. After initial success of monkey sterilisation campaign,the government had opened four monkey sterilisation centres at Tutikandi,Gopalpur,Sastar and Baul.
Sanjeeva Pandey,a senior wildlife official,said professional monkey-catchers and local people had been involved in capturing monkeys and were given Rs 500 per monkey. Detailed guidelines to catch and transport monkeys had been circulated,he added.
The animal activists,however,on Tuesday demanded a judicial probe into the deaths of 700 monkeys at Gopalpur sterilisation centre. Rajeshwar Negi,a Shimla-based activist,said the medical officer of the Gopalpur zoo should be suspended immediately.