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Forest dept gears up to begin sterilisation of monkeys in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand

The state forest department is gearing up to begin sterilisation of monkeys on a trial basis at Almora and Ranibagh (Nainital) centres

dehradun Updated: Apr 11, 2018 22:15 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand News
The Chidiapur centre in Haridwar district has sterilised more than 1,300 monkeys since October 2016.(HT Photo)

The state forest department is gearing up to begin sterilisation of monkeys on a trial basis at Almora and Ranibagh (Nainital) centres. For this, the department will recruit permanent veterinarians at the two centres by next month.

The move is aimed at giving some relief to people from monkey menace in the Kumaon region.

The high court in Nainital, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the monkey menace on April 9, had given the state government time till April 27 to submit an action plan to mitigate the problem. The PIL was filed by a Bageshwar-based resident. Earlier, a PIL was filed on the same issue before the court in 2016 also. In November 2017, residents of Almora had hit the streets against prevailing monkey menace in the region.

The forest department currently has one sterilisation centre at Chidiapur in Haridwar forest division. The centre has sterilized more than 1,300 monkeys since October 2016. But the simian menace persisted in Kumaon region.

Now, the forest department officials, with support from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), have managed to establish two centres in Kumaon. The only wait is for the veterinarians and funds to start the operations.

“Twenty-five veterinarians were approved by the government in cabinet meeting during Gairsain session. We are awaiting their engagement and also funds to start the process fully,” said Digvijay Singh Khati, the chief wildlife warden.

According to the department estimates, there are more than 1.5-2 lakh monkeys in the state. On the lines of Himachal Pradesh, the department had initiated sterilisation at the Chidipaur centre, but it couldn’t take up mass surgeries due to delay in release of funds, season issues and other managerial problems, said the department officials.

In the absence of monkey catchers in Uttarakhand, the department has to invite professional monkey catchers from Uttar Pradesh. They are paid ₹300 per sterilized monkey, which is too low compared to ₹700 per sterilized monkey paid by the Himachal Pradesh government.

In addition, the number of monkeys caught is not directly proportional to the sterilization. According to veterinarians, pregnant, diseased and monkeys below the age group of two years are not sterilized, thereby leaving only 50-70% of caged monkeys fit for the operation. “We can’t sterilize monkeys without looking after their health concerns. The process could be slow, but it has long term impact,” said a veterinarian requesting anonymity.

On the shortage of money catchers in Uttarakhand, Dinesh Pandey, a Haridwar-based wildlife activist, said, “If we need to get out of this problem, we should start training locals. Why isn’t the government training sapera and kanjar community in this art, which were traditional wildlife hunters? With this, we would be able to give them employment — as many of them are involved in wildlife crime — and at the same time support monkey catching in large number.”

First Published: Apr 11, 2018 22:15 IST