Monkey Culling Himachal

Now Himachal demands vermin status for monkeys in 53 tehsils to allow more killing

2015 survey indicates areas like Nurpur, Renuka, Rohru, Dalhousie, Bilaspur, Dharamshala and Pangi registered an increase in the number of simians

SHIMLA-  After failure to take any step after declaration of monkeys as vermin in 38 tehsils for a period of six months starting from March, Himachal Pradesh Forest Department now seek approval for a proposal demanding that monkeys be declared as vermin in 53 tehsils of the state based on their density in these select areas identified as hot spots for a period of one year.

Besides seeking the nod of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest for declaring monkeys as vermin in 53 new tehsils, the proposal for extending the permission given earlier for scientific culling of monkeys within Shimla Municipal limits has also been sent. The six-month period granted for killing monkeys within the state capital expired yesterday and the extension has been sought for another one year.

A proposal has been sent to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest seeking permission for scientific culling of monkeys in 53 new tehsils but the approval is still awaited,

said Tarun Kapoor, Principal Secretary, Forest and Environment. He said that the criteria adopted this time was to include tehsils where the density was 0.15 monkeys per sq km as compared to the earlier density of 0.3 monkeys per sq km so that the problem can be tackled effectively.

Agreeing to the request of the Himachal government for declaring monkeys as vermin in the endemic areas of the state, the Centre had given the go-ahead for scientific culling of the simians in 38 tehsils falling in 10 districts of the state earlier this year. Interestingly, despite the Centre declaring monkeys vermin in Shimla and 38 tehsils earlier in May, not even a single monkey has been killed.

Even though the latest monkey census undertaken in 2015 indicated a decline of 18,472 monkeys over the last census of 2013 on ground the situation seems to be grave.

Besides identifying a total of 348 hotpots having high concentration of monkey, the 2015 survey report indicates that some of the areas like Nurpur, Renuka, Rohru, Dalhousie, Bilaspur, Dharamsahal and Pangi have registered an increase in the number of simians, which is a worrisome fact. The monkey population estimation was undertaken in 83 ranges spread over 27,276 sq kms all over the state.

Photo: Tarun Sharma

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