The state forest department officials are at their wits end trying to curb the monkey menace prevalent in the suburbs.
In the past one year, the wildlife wing has been flooded with phone calls from Belur, Howrah and southern fringes of the city about marauding monkeys.
“It has become a major problem and we are trying to devise a way to tackle this menace. Most of these monkeys are carriers of diseases like TB and human influenza. They go about spreading it among humans,” said SS Bist, chief wildlife warden, state forest department. Senior officials of the forest department pointed out how the Delhi civic authorities have imposed a fine on people feeding monkeys in public places. The state plans to work out a similar strategy.
Officials feel that resorting to “culling” would be a drastic but effective option to control the ever-growing monkey population. As of now, they do not want to resort to this extreme measure on “ethical” grounds. Recently, a monkey had spread panic in Howrah after it went on to attack over 40 people. The forest department had even “rescued” the simians and deported them to Sunderbans, but they had returned on the next boat.
Bist said: “Keeping them in our rescue centre is a liability as we have to feed and treat them. It is not that these are threatened or endangered creatures, rather they are a thriving population, which are now invading cities and towns.” It is a very serious problem and the department would have to do something before things get out of hand, said Bist.