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Monkey trouble rises in Mumbai region: Stop feeding them, says forest dept

The forest officials said people should use firecrackers to scare away the monkeys, but at the same time must ensure that they do not hurt the animal.

mumbai Updated: Feb 25, 2018 23:44 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,monkey,menace
The population of monkeys is increasing rapidly and such incidents of monkeys visiting residential colonies in search of food are expected to rise.(HT PHOTO )

After repeated complaints of monkeys entering residential areas in search of food, forest officials rescued 36 monkeys from Mumbai suburbs in the 25 days of February – an average of more than one per day.

“On some days, we rescued more than three monkeys in 12 hours. They have entered homes in the slums and multi-storeyed apartments and damaged property. Thankfully, there have been no instances of them attacking people,” said Santosh Kank, range forest officer, Mumbai.

The forest officials said people should use firecrackers to scare away the monkeys, but at the same time must ensure that they do not hurt the animal.

“We tried this method at a few societies in Parel and suburbs. The monkeys did not return after we used firecrackers,” said Kank. He added that incidents of monkeys from forest areas visiting residential colonies have increased because people feed them.

“When they return for more food and do not find it, they become violent. Following this, the residents file complaints. We appeal to the citizens to refrain from feeding the monkeys and inform the forest department if they are spotted regularly,” Kank said.

Deputy conservator forest, Thane territorial, Jitendra Ramgaokar, said the forest department had submitted a proposal to the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC ) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)to help control the issue in November 2017. However, none of the civic bodies responded. He added all other civic bodies allow capturing of monkeys.

“The population of monkeys is increasing rapidly and such incidents [monkeys visiting residential colonies in search of food] are expected to rise. Besides not feeding them and ensuring proper waste management at societies, the civic body needs to implement an animal birth control (ABC) programme,” said Ramgaokar. “Despite being understaffed, the department is handling cases reported from all over Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).”

However, BMC officials refuted the claims about receiving any proposal from the forest department. “We will help the forest department carry out an ABC or similar programmes to address the issue and provide postoperative care once they discuss it with us,” said Sanjay Tripathi, director, Byculla zoo.

Captured monkeys were being released in Thane territorial forest areas, said Kank.

Animal welfare officers said it is risky to release the monkeys in the Thane area, considering the problem of territorial dominance. “They will become more violent,” said Pawan Sharma, wildlife warden, Thane, confirming that captures had increased across MMR. “There is an immediate need for departments, including the BMC and the TMC, to work together to resolve the problem. Training for forest staff working on ground also needs upgradation,” he added.

First Published: Feb 25, 2018 23:40 IST