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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Monkeys have changed their favourite spots over years, prefer sectors closer to forest area

The troops like the central and east division, which are close to the forest cover areas including the Sukhna Wildlife sanctuary and the Nepli forest.

Written by Saurabh Parashar | Chandigarh |
August 22, 2021 3:27:31 am
On Chandigarh’s map: Yellow spots showing sectors from where complaints were received; Red spots showing vulnerable areas. (Source: UT Forest Department)

THEY DON’T like to venture into sectors far away from the forest area or into green belts full with mango, jamun trees providing them a dense canopy. The monkeys in Chandigarh have their favorite spots.

The troops like the central and east division, which are close to the forest cover areas including the Sukhna Wildlife sanctuary and the Nepli forest.

A three year long study by the UT Forest and Wildlife department suggests that monkeys, which usually travel in troops, have changed shifted their favorite spots over the last three years.

With this slow move to their favourite spots, the department has also witnessed a reduction in complaints about monkey menace. The usual nature of complaints include damaging of water tanks, tearing clothes, and damaging vehicles etc.

Sector 9 saw the most instances of monkey menace in 2019. In 2020, most complaints of monkey-related troubles came from Sector 1 and Sector 28. Till July 2021, the forest department did not receive any complaint from Sector 1, but complaints are still pouring from Sector 28 along with Sector 27, Sector 26, and Mani Majra, which are close to the forest area with have mango orchards in the nearby areas.

“Sector 9 of Chandigarh was the most vulnerable place for the monkey menace. At least 163 complaints out of total 365 about the monkey menace in 2019 were received only from Sector 9, which houses UT Secretariats, Police headquarters of Punjab and Chandigarh, Kendriya Sadan building and Chandigarh Housing Board besides the houses of various senior politicians etc. And in the following years 2020 and 2021, we received merely a single complaint from the area. As many as 38 complaints were received from Sector 1 in 2019 and the number rose to 63 in 2020,” said a member of the monkey survey team.

The member maintains that monkeys, who usually travel in troops consisting female monkeys, sub adults, and infants carried by mother monkeys, move from one spot to another in a set pattern.

At least three routes were established during the study, while one troop was found to not have changed its spot once its members were settled in a mango orchard in Sector 28.

A compiled report suggests that sectors 26, 27, 28, 7, 9, 14, 37, 9, 26, 22, and Mani Majra are vulnerable in view of monkey menace.

Ironically, not a single complaint about monkeys was reported from sectors 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, and 46. These sectors situated in the southern division are far away from the forest area of Chandigarh.

“The plantation of fruit-bearing trees in Sukhna wildlife sanctuary helped in reducing the monkey menace in Chandigarh. We can not purely blame monkeys for their repeated venture into the urban areas. People are equally, I will say more, responsible for this trend. They feed monkeys with high religious sentiments thus changing their food habits. Indeed, monkeys in Sector 28, which is surrounded by mango orchards, are a concern for our department. We have a plan to plant fruit-bearing trees in the orchards but the orchards are being supervised by the horticulture wing of the MC. We will take up this matter with them,” said Debendra Dalai, Chief Wildlife Warden.

A wildlife officer said, “Though we acted on every monkey menace complaint, installed cages to capture them, but we cannot capture entire troops. The cages only work at places where a monkey strays from its troop and loses its track. At least 24 monkeys were captured in the last three years and released in forest areas.”

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