Armed with catapults, special patrols to scare away monkeys in Shimla
In the last three years, monkeys have attacked 2,150 people in Himachal Pradesh. Besides this, the government has also paid a compensation of Rs 28 lakh to the victims of such attacks in the last one decade.india Updated: Aug 23, 2017 15:49 IST
Grappling with the challenge to control the burgeoning monkey population in Shimla and their rampant attacks on humans, the forest department of Himachal Pradesh has now set up patrols to ward them off.
The department has set up two dozen monkey patrols to protect citizens who are reportedly fearful of the monkey when they are outdoors. Earlier, the department had deputed watchers to keep track of the monkeys. These watchers were equipped with sticks and whistle.
“Whenever monkeys attacked, the watchers would blow their whistles and shoo them away with sticks. However, this was only a temporary measure,” said additional chief secretary (forest) Tarun Kapoor.
The wildlife wing of forest department has now equipped the monkey patrol with catapults and pellets guns. “The wildlife wing will train the guards and the monkey patrols will be provided the catapults at concessional rates,” Kapoor said.
These patrols will be deputed close to schools, colleges and government offices. Two dozen ex-servicemen have being roped in for the patrol. They have also been provided separate uniforms.
In the last three years, monkeys have attacked 2,150 people in Himachal Pradesh. Besides this, the government has also paid a compensation of Rs 28 lakh to the victims of such attacks in the last one decade.
In March 2016, monkeys were declared vermin in Shimla for a period of one year. This was later extended till May this year. Once an animal is declared vermin, its killing is no longer remains a penal offence. However, so far, not a single monkey has been killed by the forest department or the citizens.
A survey conducted by the wildlife department has pegged the monkey population in Shimla municipal limits at 2,452. Furthermore, around 2,300 villages in the state are affected by the monkey menace, compelling them to diversify traditional agriculture practices. The agriculture department estimates the annual loss due to wild animals to be Rs 184.28 crore.
In 2005, the government had initiated a programme to sterilise monkeys. So far ₹20 crore have been spent on sterilising 1.98 lakh monkeys in the state.
First Published: Aug 23, 2017 15:44 IST