With culling of monkeys yet to begin despite almost a year since they were declared vermin within the Shimla Municipal Corporation, the state government has decided to entrust the task to Eco Task Force. The decision was taken by the high powered committee at the meeting of the Wild Animal and Monkey Menace, chaired by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here today. He also chaired the meeting of the State Wildlife Board.
It has been decided that an Eco Task Forces will be constituted for scientifically culling of monkeys declared as vermin within Shimla MC and 38 tehsils in the state. Despite the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest granting permission last year to scientifically cull monkeys, people have not come forward to kill them owing to religious sentiments.
The Chief Minister said that since monkeys cause much damage to crops and fruits, besides attacking women and children in particular, the government has decided to open “Rescue Centre for Life Care” near Shimla. This, he added, will house 1,000 sterilised monkeys. He also suggested that there is need to check the growing money population and the option of oral contraception should also be explored.Virbhadra said Himachal had a sizeable population of snow leopards and the state government had taken up the issue of undertaking their survey with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), Bangalore.
He added that the survey work had already been undertaken in Spiti.“Keeping in view the incidents of killing of wildlife, the state government would soon set up a State Wildlife Crime Control Unit which would go a long a way in checking crime against the wildlife. The unit would be jointly managed by the Police and Forest departments,” he said.Additional Chief Secretary Tarun Kapoor said that to identify sterilized monkeys, permanent tattooing was being done in the middle of the forehead, adding that the mobile monkey sterilization units (van) would also be quite useful when made operational.
Kapoor said a list of 53 tehsils and sub-tehsils have been sent to the Union Ministry of Environment (MoEF), where monkeys could be declared as vermin to provide much needed relief to the farmers and horticulturists.Principal Chief Conservator Forest, Wildlife SK Sharma revealed that as many as 1.25 lakh monkeys have been sterilized till March this year out of total estimated population of 2.07 lakh.
News Source Tribune India