The forest officials arrested a 25-year-old man from Mulund on February 17 for killing nine monkeys near Tulsi lake at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on February 7. A forensic report received by the national park authorities confirmed they died of poisoning.
Dr Sanjiv Pinjakar, SGNP veterinarian, said, “The forensic report states - result of detection of carbamate insecticide is positive - and it confirms that the monkeys died of poisoning.”
Anand Padyal, a resident of Vaishali Nagar, was arrested under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the Indian Forest Act, 1927. He confessed to killing the monkeys by adding insecticides to rice and feeding it to them.
Vikas Gupta, director and chief conservator of forests, SGNP, said, “The accused said he killed the monkeys as revenge for biting him in the past. The forensic report confirmed insecticides were the main cause of poisoning. We can say that this case has been closed.”
DM Dahibavkar, range forest office, Tulsi said, “The accused was send to police custody for two days after which he got bail from a magistrate court. We have submitted a charge sheet against him in the court and will soon arrest him again.”
Animal activists, however, believe that action needed to be taken sooner and the process getting the forensic report took too long. “These cases should get higher priorities as they are sensitive. The incident took place in the core area of the national park, which is the highly protected,” said Pawan Sharma, president, Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare.
When asked about the reasons for the delay, Gupta said, “We were in touch with various agencies, which were working together on the forensic report. So it took time. Now that the case is closed, we would request the public to participate in helping forest authorities rather than blaming them.”
The deaths bring to fore the security issues in the national park. The SGNP has recently constructed four new check-posts. “One needs to understand that the periphery of this park is nearly 90 kms long. It is virtually impossible to man every entry and exit. But CCTV cameras have been installed in different parts of the forest,” added Gupta.
“There are many illegal entrances and exits to the national park which is a matter of concern,” said Sharma.