Safe tattoos with a code for individual monkeys, and one more for its troop, is a key facet of the plan aiming to tackle the explosion of rhesus macaques in Delhi.
Two days ago an Agra-based wildlife protection group, Wildlife SOS, had put forward a proposal in Delhi High Court seeking unique IDs for monkeys to avoid vaccination overlap. The court had then directed the authorities in Delhi to prepare an action plan to deal with the monkey menace.
Now, the NGO has been roped in to begin Delhi’s first ever monkey sterilisation and vaccination project, wherein the primates will be given permanent unique IDs. “The monkeys will be tagged using safe tattoos — with a troop code and individual code to avoid overlapping of trapping,” said a source from the NGO.
Previously, the civic authorities had been trying to round up the monkeys using monkey catchers, and transporting them to the Asola Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary. However, officials explained that while the sanctuary didn’t have enough flora to feed the animals, the larger problem was that monkey catchers were almost impossible to find.
The problem, explained officials of the corporation, is that ‘monkey catcher’ isn’t “really a profession”, and hence, it is almost impossible to find a permanent employee willing to “catch monkeys throughout the year”.
Wildlife SOS, which has previously partnered with the Agra Development Authority and the Agra District Administration to carry out a series of sterilisation, hopes to fare better in Delhi.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said, “The Human Primate Conflict Mitigation Project is a visionary project that tackles the increasing conflict between people and rhesus macaques. Human provisioning and feeding of rhesus macaques by people for religious sentiments have habituated these animals, and hence it is the need of the hour to sterilise the monkeys for long term control of their population. This model ensures public safety along the lines of animal welfare.”
The project, the NGO explained, “aims at tackling conflict between humans and rhesus macaques in a scientific and humane way through vaccinations and laproscopic surgical intervention on monkeys while ensuring minimal stress.”
Wasim Akram, manager, Wildlife SOS Special Projects, said, “The first step is to conduct a thorough census of the rhesus macaque population in Delhi and establish a dedicated monkey hotline to understand and document which areas have major conflict. We will then carry out a phase-wise operation in the demarcated conflict areas. The success of the model will depend on proper survey.”