Battling to curb the monkey menace over the last decade, the Himachal government is faced with another hackle, this time in its move to transport monkeys to some Northeastern states.
Alarmed over the reports of monkeys being transported to Northeastern states, a Mumbai based animal rights NGO, Humane Society International (HSI) has objected to the state government’s proposal and claimed that the move would only aggravate human-monkey conflict.
Talking to The Statesman over phone from Mumbai, HSI managing director, NG Jayasimha said that trans-location of monkeys from the state to other states would temporarily reduce numbers of monkeys until others move in. But ultimately it kills the monkeys as they might not survive relocation.
He said monkeys live in troops that have very strong social bonds and loss of members of the troop can have devastating effects. Trapping of individuals or small groups and relocating them in another monkey’s territory is a cruel way of dealing with human-monkey conflict.
In addition, there are lethal effects of capture, caging and a long journey from Himachal Pradesh to Northeastern Indian states on the monkeys and the move needs to be reconsidered.
“Himachal Pradesh Forest Department has made efforts and progress in sterilization of monkeys. Another way to curb monkey menace would be to use immuno-contraception method,” he said.
The Wildlife Institute of India has recently taken up a project to implement sterilization of monkeys using immuno-contraception – a method that employs the immune system of an animal to create contraception.
Jayasimha urged the state government to use this technique as a humane solution for dealing with the over-population of rhesus macaques in the state.
“It is now widely recognized by wildlife veterinarians that every wild creature that is the subject of translocation or rehabilitation release must not be regarded as a single animal. But rather as a package containing an assortment of potentially dangerous viruses, bacteria, protozoa, helminths and arthropods, any of which may become pathogenic in new situation involving stressed individuals in a changed environment,” he added.
Chief Wildlife Warden SS Negi told The Statesman the government had assured HSI that we would create gene pool of this species of the monkey so that the animals don’t become extinct.