Mumbai: Trekkers find 9 monkeys mysteriously dead in SGNP

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park officials suspect the monkeys might have been poisoned and then dumped in the core area; patrolling has now been increased in the area

Death seems to be following Sanjay Gandhi National Park, what with all the recent leopard and tiger deaths there, and now the discovery of nine monkey carcasses in the core area of the park on Sunday. This time, however, the authorities suspect that the monkeys may have been poisoned and then dumped in SGNP by miscreants.

Park officials suspect the monkeys were poisoned and dumped in the core forest area by miscreants who wished to avoid punishment. File pic for representation
Park officials suspect the monkeys were poisoned and dumped in the core forest area by miscreants who wished to avoid punishment. File pic for representation

The dead monkeys were found in the core of the forest in the Tulsi lake area, on the Mulund side of the national park. The core area is restricted and supposed to be patrolled to keep the public out, but the eastern and western parts do not have proper boundary walls, because of which many people can roam around easily.

After this incident, however, the authorities have increased patrolling in and around the boundary of SGNP, especially on the eastern side, which people enter illegally for morning and evening walks. In fact, the monkeys were first discovered by some trekkers who had entered the restricted area on Saturday evening.

One of the trekkers said on condition of anonymity, “We saw nine monkeys lying there; seven were dead and their skin was bluish. Two were barely alive, but breathing. We also saw some crows lying dead around the monkeys. Perhaps they had tried to feed on the carcasses.” The park officials went to the spot the next day to recover the bodies, afterwhich they sent the viscera to a forensic laboratory in Kalina.

They said the monkeys did not seem to have been killed by wild animals. Speaking to mid-day, Chief Conservator of Forest(CCF) and Field Director SGNP Vikas Gupta said, “On Sunday our team recovered nine monkey carcasses from the Tulsi range of SGNP and we are awaiting the post mortem report so that the exact reason for the death can be known.”

The post mortem report is expected in two days, but an official said, “We think that someone has dumped the carcasses inside SGNP deliberately, so that they don’t have to face action for the monkeys’ deaths.”
Meanwhile, the incident has raised question over the security in the SGNP core and buffer areas.

The authorities claim they have a mobile squad that patrols these sections regularly, but not enough is being done, according to an animal rights activist, who said, “If the mobile squad was doing its job properly then they should have known that the monkeys had died.

It was only after the trekkers informed the authorities about the deaths, that the authorities reached the spot. Rather than just sitting in the vehicles, officials should patrol on foot as well, so that they are informed about the happenings inside the forest.”

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