HAVING TRIED several ways to control the population, and menace, of monkeys, including declaring them vermin in many areas of the state, the Himachal Pradesh government on Monday decided to constitute a special eco-task force in scientific culling of monkeys in areas where they have been declared vermin.
CM Virbhadra Singh said religious sentiments have prevented people against killing monkeys despite the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ (MoEF) notification last year, declaring the animal vermin in 53 tehsils and sub-tehsils, as well as Shimla town .
The MoEF can declare wild animals vermin if they become dangerous to human life or property, including crops, or carry disease. Once declared vermin, such animals can be killed or hunted by the state forest authorities or the people without inviting legal action.
The task force will be supported by state forest department to shoot down the monkeys, selectively and scientifically, as per guidelines framed by the Wildlife department, Singh said following a meeting of a high-powered committee set up to find solution to menace of monkeys and other wild animals. “Since they are causing damage to crops and fruits, besides attacking women and children in particular, the government has also decided to open a ‘Rescue Centre for Life Care’ near Shimla,” he said. The centre will have a capacity to house around 1,000 rogue and sterilised monkeys, it was informed.