Conservationists, officials wary of monkey feeding

Conservationists, officials wary of monkey feeding

Monkey trouble

A poster inviting devotees to feed the monkeys displayed at the temple.

Sri Anjaneyaswamy Devalaya Temple Trust in Vyalikaval is collecting food items from devotees to feed monkeys in the forest patches nearby, as part of the Hanuman Jayanthi celebrations.

But, the gesture has not gone down well with the forest officials and conservationists. They say, ‘though, it is a good gesture, it is in the wrong direction’. According to them, the temple trust’s move will aggravate the monkey menace further.

Trust President, Ramakrishna M, told DH that people see the deity in the animal, and this is just a way of feeding Lord Hanuman himself. The trust collects offerings from devotees during the festive season, and feeds it to the monkeys. “We have started collecting from Thursday (December 20) and will continue collecting till Saturday (December 22). Whatever people offer and donate to the trust is fed to the monkeys,” he said.

The Trust members added that they have been feeding the macaques for the last 20 years. The trust collects fruits, vegetables, bread, biscuits, ground nut, banana and even curd to feed the monkeys. This year they are feeding the monkeys in Kannive, Chikkaballapur, an area bordering the forest.

Conservationists, though, say that ‘instead of feeding chemical and pesticide laced food to animals, one should provide food to the hungry’. “There is abundant food in the forest. There is no need to feed the animals. Besides, the monkeys get used to it. It also poses danger to tourists,” said Prabhu, a conservationist.

Chikkaballapur forest department officials, meanwhile, said that they were unaware of the initiative. “No permission has been given to feed the animals, besides, it is also an offence. The matter  will be looked into,” Sridhar, assistant conservator of forests, Chikkaballapur said.