We Asked: Do you think it is about time municipalities start taking responsibility for stray monkeys in urban areas as they do for stray cattle and street dogs? If so, what action should they take when given a distress call for the same? What do you think should be done to these monkeys that are neither wild nor accepted in the cities?
It is the right time when municipalities should come forward and be proactive in capturing monkeys when they find that there are regular incidents of snatching of food and beverages by monkeys, for example, bananas, grapes, roti, puri, etc. These snatching are generally done by small children or senior citizens in their jurisdiction. These incidents are common in the Temple campus and holy river ghats of Ganges where people come to take holy dip. Monkeys jump and snatch from hands the eatable items while offering Prasad in the temple to other disciples on campus or eating food after Puja/ Holy dip along river ghats. These snatching events convert frequently into Monkey bites resulting in serious wounds for small children & and old pilgrims. In my opinion, Municipalities should capture Monkeys from such places for the safety of human lives. These captured monkeys should be kept in closed big cages and their sterilisation/ Tubectomy should be done. After this, they should be released in different forest areas with consultation of In charge Forest officers of respective areas. Hopefully, this will solve the problem of monkey bite cases and also restrict the increasing population of monkeys in the concerned areas.- Anuj Kumar Saxena, Retd SFS (86-88) Batch
Considering the brewing conversations around the monkeys wreaking havoc in the past couple of years, and this year in particular, it is quite surprising how no administrative body has taken proper cognizance of it as yet. A system that supervises the necessary groundwork to control this very public issue is imperative. The goal is not to create any more man-wildlife conflict than already exists, but rather to find a way to avoid it. Should the continued inconvenience to the public on account of monkeys continue, one can surely expect that citizens may retaliate negatively against the animals, which is far from desirable. Perhaps the monkeys are straying into urban areas due to a depletion of their natural habitat, or perhaps they are migrating from where they earlier found homes. This all points to the patterns we are noting with several species across the globe as a result of climate change and global warming. Regardless of the reason, a system to manage it in the present is the need of the hour. One hopes that the city municipal corporation takes charge of this issue just as efficiently as they are attempting to manage the number of stray dogs in the city. Once studied, a solution may be found in safely catching and relocating or rehabilitating the monkeys in favourable habitats - a solution that can surely be arrived at with the combined efforts of the municipal corporation and forest department, with adequate collaborations with animal rights non-profits, to ensure the safety of the monkeys as well as the citizens of Lucknow. While the ‘money menace’ in Lucknow is seeing an uptick, the population of monkeys cannot afford to take a hit either. Granted, the problem posed to the citizens requires serious attention, however, we must also ensure that the primates are treated with sensitivity and care in this endeavour - if only for the sake of our future generations.-Shefali Soni, working professional
Monkey menace in cities and districts across Uttar Pradesh is a growing cause of concern for the people. Deaths, injuries and property damage by the simians have become a thing of the routine in districts like Agra, Bareilly, Hardoi, Azamgarh, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Farrrukhabad, Banda, Mathura and Kasganj to name just a few. But sadly, neither the state government at its level nor the district administrations, civic authorities or Forest department have managed to come up with any concrete solution to this menace greatly impacting the normal life of the common man across the state. On April 2, 2023, the Centre removed rhesus macaques from Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act by amending it. Stripped of the protection that comes with being labelled as an endangered species whose killing and hunting are illegal, rhesus macaques are now akin to stray cats and dogs. Now is the time that the municipal corporations along with the district administrations concerned should come out with an effective plan to deal with this menace effectively and protect the citizens as well as tourists who often fall victim to these simians known to easily turn aggressive and administer ghastly bites. It would be a welcome step if the state government comes up with a plan to deal with the issue as it is a statewide problem and would require both money, manpower and experts to deal with. Urging people not to feed the monkeys, going for sterilisation or translocating them to jungles or remote areas where there is adequate water and fruits for them to survive could be possible solutions. But it is high time that proper steps are taken to ensure the safety of the people from the monkey menace without further delay or loss of lives and injuries to more people.-- Khushaboo Mishra, homemaker, mother and a resident of Jhansi, Prayagraj
Monkey is no more the responsibility of the forest department and hence the menace isn't their business anymore. The amendment in the Wildlife Protection Act, which came into force on April 1, 2023, says monkeys will be treated just as another stray community animal. So, it is the municipal corporation's court where the ball has come. But what about the (monkey) menace? People are not worried which authority will take care of the animal. They are concerned about who will come to the rescue if people or property is at risk. The municipal corporation has trained staff to deal with cattle, dogs, and other such animals. But are they equipped to rescue monkeys? The municipal staff is equipped to catch dogs on the street but monkeys climb whatever they find. The issue is clearly different from stray dogs. The dogs live in human settlements on roads but do not enter houses unless gates are open. Monkeys need no invitation as they climb up the roof and enter the kitchen or may harm children under certain circumstances. A lack of clear information can result in unwarranted conflicts. The information that the monkey has been brought out of the list of scheduled animals does not mean anyone can harm them, has to go loud and clear. It is time local bodies act swiftly to take charge of monkeys.-Priyanka Saigal, Housewife, Lucknow
Any visit of VVIP to the coveted Sri Bankey Behari Temple invites an additional headache for the local administration and police. This is not related to any arrangements required but the simians ruling the rooftops in the town of Vrindavan. Besides any other unruly behaviour, these monkeys are more ill-famous for their typical fondness for glasses worn by devotees moving through lanes of Vrindavan leading to Bankey Behari Temple. Not to be confused, these glasses are of no use to monkeys but act as bait for what they love most – the tetra pack of mango juice. Anybody losing his glasses is surrounded by local shopkeepers who are ready with remedy. “Buy a tetra pack of juice and throw it to the monkey in possession of glasses’. And the remedy works. The monkey catches the pack and forgets the glasses as it needs both hands free to open the juice pack and downfalls the glasses. None is spared by these monkeys and even the district magistrate of Mathura on a visit to find a solution to this menace lost his glasses, only to be attained back by time-tested method. As such, the administration resorted to calling the ‘langoor’ to keep away monkeys. This all might be a lighter side of it but the other side remains a tragic one. These monkeys spread all over eight districts of Braj in Agra and Aligarh division are the cause of numerous deaths mostly caused because of falls from the roof of houses. These monkeys have even targeted tourists and to keep them away, CISF - the entrusted task of internal security at the Taj – had introduced the use of ‘gulel’ (sling) but the animal rights activists held it cruel to hit monkeys with stones in a sling. The idea backfired and boards surfaced on Taj premises warning tourists from monkeys. The extent of the menace can be judged by the fact that lawyers in the Collectorate premises of Agra had to remain on a day strike to complain about monkeys attacking them and their clients. They are everywhere, in markets, hospitals and one such monkey-snatched bag containing lakhs of currency notes later rained from a rooftop in Agra. The solution to the menace is yet awaited despite an MP from Mathura, Hema Malini raising the issue in parliament and an activist KC Jain filing a writ petition on the issue. The agencies involved in catching these monkeys are not supported by the proper place to displace these monkeys caught and tragedy continues. -Gauri Chaturvedi, social activist, Agra
Topic of the month: Do you think it is about time the concerned authorities took the caging of birds seriously and ensured that action be taken against those who keep caged birds at home? Is there not also a need for a total ban on bird markets like Nakhas? What precise steps/actions would you suggest to combat this issue? You may send your views (either in Hindi or English) in 300 words to treetakema[email protected]. Please also attach a colour photo of yourself.