'Monkey park to contain simian menace not viable'

A delegation of officials and office-bearers of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh visited Himachal Pradesh to conduct a study on monkey park in 2010.

Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Udupi district unit, has questioned the logic behind the state government’s move to set up monkey park, a first-of-its-kind in the  state in Shivamogga, to contain monkey menace.

The Himachal Pradesh government, as a pilot project, had planned to set up a monkey park in 2008 but dropped the proposal terming it unfeasible in 2010.

Kissan Sangha general secretary Satyanarayana Udupa said Himachal Pradesh government had realised that monkey menace could not be checked through monkey park. Instead, it started monkey sterilisation centre.

On the direction of the then minister Dr V S Acharya, a team of officials along with office-bearers of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, led by Moodbidri ACF O Sadashiv Bhat, had been to Himachal Pradesh in 2010 to conduct a study on monkey park.

“During our visit to Himachal Pradesh, we noticed the failure of monkey park in controlling the menace. A detailed report in this regard was submitted to the government,” said Udupa.

The team had proposed 10-point programme to check wild animals and monkey meance at an estimated cost of Rs 29 crore and had asked the government to drop monkey park proposal.

After the death of Acharya, the proposal remained in cold storage, Udupa explained.

He lauded the move of the government to protect the farm produce. However, it is not right on the part of the government to implement a project which is not viable.

Udupa said Karkala MLA Sunil Kumar had submitted a proposal to set up a sterilisation centre at Karkala.

On the model of Himachal Pradesh, the government should set up monkey sterilisation centre in Karnataka. The monkeys need to be caught, sterilised and released back into the forest to reduce the monkey population, he added.

Further, the monkeys that were caught can be left in the forests of Bandipur, where the population of leopard and carnivore animals are more, other office-bearers of Sangha said.

The Sangha has urged the authorities to plant fruit-bearing plants inside forest.

Drinking water should be made available inside the forest. Trenches should be laid on the periphery of the forest and also fence should be constructed to prevent the monkeys from straying into the villages, they added.

“The fencing of the forest will also help in checking illegal encroachment of forest land,” said Udupa.

He said monkeys live in groups. Each group has its own territory.

Monkeys will clash among themselves for crossing the territory. Hence, it is impossible to bring all the monkeys under one park. It can also lead to clash among the monkeys resulting in their death.

Bharatiya Kisan Sangh has decided to impress upon chief minister, ministers from Malnad and coastal districts on the need to drop the proposal on monkey park.

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