Monday, June 23, 2008

Sterilised Himachal Monkeys Pregnant

Monkeys sterilised by the Himachal Pradesh wildlife department last year are reproducing again, officials said Monday.

To control the monkey menace in areas like Shimla, Kufri and Rampur, the wildlife department sterilised about 1,300 simians last year. The males were sterilised using laser technology and tubectomy was performed on females using the laparoscopic technique.

But now the animals are breeding again.

'Most of the monkeys sterilised by the wildlife department are pregnant again,' said a wildlife official at the Himalayan Nature Park in Kufri.

He said 60 monkeys were caught from Kufri, about 25 km from here, and taken to the Tuti Kandi rescue centre on the outskirts of Shimla. After sterilisation, they were released in the same area. At that time, male and female monkeys were tagged. But now the tags have also disappeared.

Lalit Mohan, conservator of forests (wildlife), admits that there were some flaws in the sterilisation programme.

The drive hit several road blocks due to the shortage of expert monkey catchers. Now the department is training its own staff.

'We have been working on several projects to control their population,' he said. 'The monkeys might be pregnant again as all animals could not be trapped at that time. Those that had been left out at that time might be breeding now.'

R.S. Kishtwaria of the College of Veterinary Sciences in Palampur, about 175 km from here, says sterilisation is not good for animals and results in abnormal behaviour.

'The behaviour of the monkeys should be studied for a while after sterilisation. There are instances when the sterilised monkeys get themselves injured during fights, especially when they are in heat, or start attacking human beings,' he said.

The wildlife department had also initiated mass translocation of simians to remote forest areas from cities and towns to control the menace. But this process was not successful as the territory vacated by the animals was occupied by more aggressive troops of monkeys from surrounding areas.

According to a census conducted by the wildlife department, the state has 319,000 monkeys.

Story here.

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