As Matheran reopens, monkeys grow intolerant towards tourists

Updated: 25 September, 2020 08:22 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Tourists report attacks by the animals which seem more aggressive; Animal Welfare Officer says this may be due to the lack of junk food that visitors used to give them

The lack of tourists due to the lockdown has left the monkeys hungry, according to locals. File pic
The lack of tourists due to the lockdown has left the monkeys hungry, according to locals. File pic

As the hill station of Matheran opened to tourism last week, tourists and picnickers said that the monkeys in the eco-sensitive section had become more aggressive, snatching whatever food was available from them, even entering cars for it. This was also observed in the Thai city of Lobpuri, which has been over-run by monkeys post the lock down, due to the absence of tourists for a long time.

"A few monkeys attacked us and one of them jumped inside the car through the window in search of food," said 27-year-old tourist Akhil Shah.

"We had just finished our sandwiches. One of the big monkeys jumped on me for the tiffin which I flipped in the air. He caught it and found nothing. He then attacked my left leg. A local who came with a stick to help was also attacked. It was only after another person came, that the monkey fled," Shah narrated.

Most of the animals in Matheran are hungry due to the lack of tourists and the general shut down with even horses being fed half their diet.

Most of the animals in Matheran are hungry due to the lack of tourists and the general shut down with even horses being fed half their diet
Most of the animals in Matheran are hungry due to the lack of tourists and the general shut down with even horses being fed half their diet

Matheran Municipal Council president Prerna Sawant said that they always appeal to tourists to not offer food to monkeys as they get used to it and are unable to search for food on their own.

Honorary District Animal Welfare Officer Sunish Subramanian Kunju said that the aggression must be because of lack of junk food.

"The lockdown stopped tourists, the regular source of junk food. The administration should plant fruit-bearing plants in such regions so animals are not left hungry," Subramanian said.

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First Published: 25 September, 2020 05:10 IST

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