Simian menace: Flayed by rights groups, NDMC to resort to traditional methods

Unable to check monkey menace, despite trying several methods such as power fencing and air guns, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has decided to go back to the traditional way of catching apes by luring them with food. Areas under NDMC jurisdiction have around 8,500 monkeys and the civic body has spent lakhs of rupees to tackle the menace, the latest being power fencing, which was objected to by several animal rights activists.

“We have tried several methods to deal with menace, but all initiatives had to be later withdrawn due to objection from animal rights activists. We have now decided to go back to the traditional method. 
We will put up a cage and a monkey catcher in areas with monkey population. The catcher will lure the animals with food items and trap them. The process is going to be tedious but there aren’t many options,” said a senior official.

The NDMC has undertaken several steps to check the menace such as hiring langur handlers, employees imitating langur cries to scare away the monkeys, air guns and rubber bullets, to name a few. 

In March this year, the Council had tried to cover buildings in its areas with a low-voltage electric tape, which cost Rs 5,00,000 per building. But an animal rights group served a legal notice to the civic body, demanding it to stop the exercise and contending that it was in violation to the Wildlife Protection Act.

Earlier, the Environment Ministry had objected to deploying langurs terming it as violation to animal rights. The NDMC had then hired 40 people, who used to imitate langur cries to scare away monkeys. 

But that, too, did not yield the desired result. “We will soon float fresh tenders to  hire monkey catchers. We will be sterilising the monkeys caught and they will be sent to the Asola wildlife sanctuary, where we will also pay for their food,” the official said. 

He added: “We have a few catchers working for us and have caught 49 monkeys over the past three months. But we need to have more number professional catchers. For now we have three cages, we will buy more of them soon.”
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