The Himachal Pradesh government is on monkey business, literally! The wildlife wing will chase marauding monkeys in the streets not to shoo them away, but to conduct an exact headcount. A dawn-to-dusk census of monkeys and langurs, involving over 2,500 people, would be conducted on June 29, said AK Gulati, principal chief conservator of wildlife.
This would help in drawing up a roadmap to tackle the menace scientifically, he said. “With this (census) we will be able to identify the hotspots where the menace is more acute,” he added. Wildlife officials said various programmes launched in the past, including permission to shoot the monkeys in the fields that has been stayed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court, had failed to tackle the increasing population of simians.
Thousands of farmers in Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una, Mandi and Kangra districts have incurred losses mainly due to the marauding monkeys. The wildlife wing estimates that more than 900,000 farmers are affected by wild animals in the state. Gulati said they were currently carrying out a sterilisation programme. In 2004, a monkey census, the first such in the country, said there were 317,000 macaques in the state.