Some 300 monkeys used to the fast-paced city life—and that too in VIP areas—will soon be relocated to the jungles of Madhya Pradesh.
The monkeys were captured from areas around Central Secretariat, Birla Mandir, Malcha Marg, Krishna Menon Marg and Sena Bhawan in a special drive against stray animals.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that these monkeys be handed over to the Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh where they will be released in the wild.
The order came from a Bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal on a public interest petition by one Gita Seshamani seeking directions to the Centre and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to check the stray-animal menace by sterilising them and by shifting them to other states.
The court has asked the Centre to bear the cost of Rs 25 lakh for relocating the monkeys to Madhya Pradesh. The simians are currently housed in Rajokri and most of them have been sterilised.
During the course of the hearing, counsel for the Madhya Pradesh government said it would be very difficult to rehabilitate the monkeys in the wild as they were accustomed to city life. Besides, there would be opposition from the local people, he said.
The court had earlier directed the Centre to check with the chief secretaries of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttaranchal if they could identify appropriate sites in their states for shifting stray animals.
To overcome resistance from the people against catching monkeys, due to their religious faith, the court had directed the government to launch a public awareness campaign.