Monkey park no solution for menace: Greens

More than one lakh farmers in eight districts of the Western Ghats region in the state are losing their crops due to monkey menace. The estimated loss per year is Rs 25 crore.

The government's plan to set up a monkey park in the district, a first of its kind in the state, to contain the monkey menace is only a short-term measure and it will not resolve the problem, believe environmentalists.

It only postpones the problem, they say. Officials of the forest department must start planting fruit-bearing trees amidst monoculture tree plantations in the district, they say.

Speaking to DH, environmentalist and former member of the Western Ghats Task Force B M Kumaraswamy said the monkey park will not end the menace permanently.

"Monkeys might be shifted to the park. But will the officials of the forest department provide food to them every day? Where will they bring it from? Will the number of monkeys remain the same?," he said. 

Fruit-bearing trees

He said 50 acres of land had been identified near Nagodi village in Hosanagar taluk for the park. The Forest department may plant fruit-bearing trees there.

But they require nearly five to 10 years to get fruits. Till then, they have to provide food to them. Officials must start planting fruit trees in monoculture tree plantations at the earliest, he said. Gradually, they must cut acacia, eucalyptus trees and plant fruit trees such as peepal, banyan, mango and blackberry.

Speaking to DH, Karnataka State Biodiversity Board chairman Anant Hegde Ashisara said, "The Deputy Conservator of Forests, Sagar division, has stated in a report that Rs 40 lakh is required per year to manage 500 monkeys. A task force must be set up at the gram-panchayat level to contain monkeys." 

Earlier, farmers were not given compensation for losing crops due to monkey menace. This must be given without fail. Besides, permission must be given to kill monkeys when the menace reaches the peak. Sterilisation of monkeys is another solution, he suggested.

According to environmentalists, more than one lakh farmers in eight districts of the Western Ghats region in the state are losing their crops due to monkey menace. The estimated loss per year is Rs 25 crore. Experts say the Western  Ghats region has more than seven lakh monkeys.

 

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