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HC approves monkey snare

Delhi HC sets up a panel to devise ways to trap stray monkeys, report Harish Nair and Avishek Dastidar.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2007 18:51 IST

Tired of the monkey menace? Don't worry. A committee, appointed by the Delhi High Court to devise easy ways to trap stray monkeys wandering in the capital and shift them to a permanent sanctuary near Bhatti mines, has come up with a "cheap trick" - some 18x12 ft long and 8 ft high walk-in cages will be positioned in problem zones.

But is there a simple way to lure the monkeys into the cages? Committee member and lawyer Meera Bhatia said, "The cages will be strewn with the choicest fruits to lure the monkeys. Once in, they will be automatically shut inside and can get out only at the Bhatti Sanctuary."

Four non-governmental organisations working on wildlife issues in the capital have formed a coalition and extended a list of proposals to the court-appointed committee. Among other things, the proposals list the ways and means to treat the trapped monkeys, and more importantly, identifies the kind of monkeys that need to be trapped.

"However, the centrepiece of the proposals calls for a natural habitat for the monkeys. It says the green cover of the Aravallis must be protected from illegal deforestation. This should be a part of the Master Plan 2021," advocate Sonia Ghosh of Citizens for the Welfare and Protection of Animals, a coalition partner, told the Hindustan Times.

One of the proposals also stated that "regeneration of the Ridge is integral to preventing man-monkey conflicts".

The coalition stressed upon the need to catch monkeys "selectively". "Only problematic monkeys should be caught. To prevent random trapping of just about any monkey in sight, we will inspect all complaints regarding monkey menace and decide if a monkey needs to be trapped for the Bhatti Sanctuary or returned to the Ridge," said Gautam Grover, managing trustee of NGO Animal Saviour, another coalition partner.

Grover said the coalition was already working on a model to identify "problematic monkeys".

NGOs People for Animals and Frendicos-SECA are also part of the coalition.

The coalition also underlined that the government's monkey shelter at Rajokri should be upgraded and used for the rehabilitation of injured and handicapped simians. The Rajokri shelter has around 130 monkeys. "So far, 87 monkeys have escaped from this shelter because of inappropriate caging," the coalition said.

'Return the money and the monkey'

The Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted the plea of the Madhya Pradesh government that it was not willing to rehabilitate any more monkeys captured in Delhi. But it expressed displeasure over the manner in which it translocated 250 simians in one of its sanctuaries earlier.

"You (Madhya Pradesh) return the money and the monkey. You are not feeding them. What have you done with Rs 25 lakh," a Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan observed, when the state counsel said that MP had rehabilitated 250 monkeys as per the apex court's direction of April 2004.