Buoyed by the success of the ongoing monkey sterilisation programme, the state government will administer oral contraceptive to simians for speedy control of their burgeoning population which has been raising concern for scores of farmers and urban residents.
The forest department has asked Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Agriculture University Palampur, Dr YS Parmar University of horticulture and forestry, Nauni, animal husbandry and wild life department, to develop feed for monkeys in which these contraceptives could be given.
“Experts are looking into several aspects before starting the pilot project for putting monkeys on oral contraceptive pills as in a wild environment, no one could keep a tab on the regular dose of contraceptive,” a forest official said, adding that in controlled environment, the solution had proved to be very effective.
Over the past eight years, the state has sterilised over 94,000 monkeys in seven different monkey sterilisation centres across the state.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh had on Friday stated in the Vidhan Sabha that after scientific culling, sterilisation is an effective way to curb their population. He had also assured to take up the issue of monkey exports from the union government.
Additional chief secretary (ACS), forest, Tarun Shridhar said the monkey sterilisation programme had been a success in Himachal Pradesh and its result would be visible after some time. “We have made all our efforts to curb the menace and to check the monkey population,” he said. The department has also flagged off a mobile sterilisation van.
After the state claimed the success of monkey sterilisation programme, it has received inquiries from several states besides Sri Lanka. Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Haryana, Sikkim had approached state for technical knowhow about the monkey sterilisation programme.
Recently, a team from the Primate Research Centres of University of California –Davis had visited the state. Primate research centre would conduct a study on two points of simians. One is about the diseases of monkeys and another is change in their behaviors. “Monkeys live close to the human population, the study will assess whether these animals have any disease and how will it transmit from them to humans,” an official said.
Monkey menace is a burning issue in the state and has affected the agriculture and horticulture sector. A study conducted by an NGO Kheti Bachao Samiti, revealed that over 2,000 panchayats have been hit from the monkey menace of a total of 3,243 panchayats.
The forest department had conducted the monkey census in 2004 and 2013. According to the census in 2004, there were 3.19lakh monkeys across the state while in 2013, survey indicted decline in population to 2.27 lakh.
Year 2004 to 2014
Cases of monkey attacks 2,050
Amount of relief paid `96 lakh
· Estimated population: 2.27 lakh
· Sterilised: 94,000
· Sterilisation centre across the state 7