Monkey menace in Gangtok: Govt to consider capture-sterilisation
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Guwahati: Sikkim has been facing challenges related to human-wildlife conflict, particularly the increasing monkey population.

After issuing a public order that said feeding monkeys or improper food waste disposal would incur a fine of Rs 5,000, the government has started capture-sterilisation for immediate relief from monkeys.

 “The monkeys are caught using the drop-door-cage method, transported to the zoo, sterilised and then released. A total of 22 monkeys have already been caught from Namnang and Deorali localities. The Himalayan Zoological Park (HZP), in partnership with veterinary experts from Himachal Pradesh, is organising a 3-week training for local vets on monkey sterilisation from September,” a Sikkim forest and environment department statement said.

A scientific study of the monkey population in Gangtok town is also underway to better assess their population, distribution, habitat preference and seasonality.

The state has experienced a rise in incidents involving monkeys in rural and urban areas, damaging crops, homes, and public property, causing concerns for both residents.

The Forest and Environment Department has launched a comprehensive initiative to manage monkeys in Gangtok town. This initiative is guided by a commitment to protect the environment, wildlife, and the livelihoods of the people.

“One of the reasons for the unnatural growth in the population of monkeys (Macaque species) is human feeding and improper management of food waste. The long-term solution is to curb this practice and the forest department has started sensitising various stakeholders including office goers, homes, religious places, supermarkets and shops,” the department said.

The department said the monkeys fed by humans lose their sense of fear and have now learnt to “associate food with people and they get attracted and slowly become aggressive. This increases the risk of bites or injuries and transmission of zoonotic diseases. Providing food to monkeys is not good for their health either and can disrupt their natural feeding patterns and behaviour. Monkeys are a protected species and feeding them or improper disposal of food waste is an offence and violators will be fined Rs 5,000,” it said.

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The Gangtok Municipal Corporation has also joined hands to create awareness regarding this initiative.

The department said community engagement is paramount to the success of this initiative. “We hope that by working together with the citizen groups and leveraging scientific research, we can find lasting solutions that work for humans and monkeys both,” it said.

Also Read | Feeding monkeys in Sikkim could result in a penalty of Rs 5,000

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