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Rs 148 lakh plan to oust Shimla monkeys

March 22, 2005 13:46 IST

Monkeys, the "naughty" ones, the "household" ones and the "highway" or "fastfood" ones, have held to ransom Shimla.

To end this menace the Centre has submitted a comprehensive action plan to the Supreme Court.

The Union Ministry of Enviornment and Forest and the government of Himachal Pradesh have jointly prepared the plan and have envisaged an expenditure of Rs 148 lakhs to combat the menace of nearly 1600 monkeys in Shimla and on the Shimla-Kalka National Highway.

The strategy to fight the simians, who have made life miserable for residents as well as tourists, revolves around increasing the natural food base in forests, creating awareness among public and controlling the monkey population
by sterilising males of the monkey groups.

Blaming the unplanned expansion of Shimla since 1980 as the reason for the monkey menace, the action plan report presented before the court by the Centre laments that "the once invisible and friendly monkeys are now threatening to become a nuisance to the people and the tourists alike."

The action plan, accepted by the court, which wanted other states to replicate the action, has been prepared after extensive research on the behavioural aspects of monkeys.

About "household" monkeys, the action plan said "people are scared to hang their clothes for drying in the open. For these are often torn and mutilated beyond recognition by the monkeys. They have become so bold that they even come inside the houses unchallenged".

On the "naughty ones, it said, "they often chase toursists travelling on foot to Jhaku temple from the Ridge. Local people carrying handbags and women with purses are the easy targets of naughty monkeys. They tease mostly the elder people and children. The monkeys have adapted to the human environment and have flourished..."

About the "highway" monkeys, the action plan said "these monkeys have become fast food monkeys. Troupes of monkeys settle themselves along the roadside and remain there throughout the day waiting for food to be thrown to them by the motorists, from the buses and by truck drivers."

The reason for large-scale influx of monkeys to urban areas, said the report, was the shrinking and fragmentation of forests due to human activities.

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