Monkey sterilisation put on hold
According to the forest department, there are roughly about 2 lakh monkeys in Uttarakhand. Going by the numbers, the forest department has sterilised only 2.5% of the monkey population in the last two years.dehradun Updated: Aug 25, 2017 20:38 IST
DEHRADUN:Nature’s cycle of life and season, fund crunch and low wages have come together to halt the forest department’s monkey sterilisation programme for curbing simian attacks in Uttarakhand.
From October 2015 onwards when a sterilisation centre came up in Haridwar’s Chidiyapur area to March this year, veterinarians operated upon only 514 monkeys. Sterilisation is carried out, especially in the non-breeding season, in both male and female.
According to the forest department, there are roughly about 2 lakh monkeys in Uttarakhand. Going by the numbers, the forest department has sterilised only 2.5% of the monkey population in the last two years.
The October-December period is the mating season following which the females give birth between April and June, veterinarians said. In July and August, the females remain in post-partum period when the uterus remains dilated and the blood supply is low due to which sterilisation isn’t done.
“For five months, it’s not possible to operate upon female monkeys that are pregnant or in post-natal condition. So, that’s why sterilisation process is suspended,” veterinarian Dr Amit Dhyani told Hindustan Times.
Monsoon has also put a stop to surgeries as rains make it almost impossible to catch monkeys. Professional monkey catchers are deployed to trap the simians in cages. In most cases, an alpha male monkey gets lured by food kept as bait and ends up trapping its troop inside the cage. Mostly males get caught as, in most cases, there are roughly four females for one male in a troop of monkeys.
Another problem is the low wages given to monkey catchers. Himachal Pradesh pays about Rs 500-800 for sterilisation of each monkey compared to Rs 350-500 in Uttarakhand. As only 50% of the caught monkeys are found fit for sterilisation, the monkey catchers earn a pittance despite their tiring work. “The rate is lower than Himachal despite the face that we’ll be able to control the simian population faster if we are sympathetic to monkey catchers,” a source in the forest department said.
It has boomeranged on the forest department’s efforts to curb the simian population. No monkey catcher turned up when an order was placed for catching monkeys earlier this year. A fresh tender order was given and only one company came forward for the tedious task, the source said.
Paucity of fund has no less contributed to the mess. While the project was allotted Rs 5 crore, officials have received only Rs 2 crore so far. Delay in transfers has also hit the process as officers keep waiting for their new posting. Divisional forest officer, Haridwar, HK Singh denies there is shortage of funds. “It’s true that we don’t carry out sterilisation during the monsoon, but we have funds for the project,” Singh said.
First Published: Aug 25, 2017 20:38 IST