CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government has sought clearance from the Central Zoo Authority to set up an ultra-modern facility to tame, rehabilitate and teach manners to rogue monkeys.
The first-of-its-kind monkey school will provide inmates with medical care and good-behaviour training. “In addition to veterinary doctors the centre will have experts and it would be a sort of good manners school for the monkeys,” said a senior official of the Punjab wildlife department.
“There have been several cases of monkey bites and the problem has reached such an alarming situation that every week there are one or two cases of monkey biting from across the district. This is why we have decided to build a rehabilitation centre adjacent to a mini zoo in Patiala. This will be the first such centre in the state,” “Chief Wildlife Warden of Punjab, R K Luna said. “.
According to the Chief Wildlife Warden, the population of the animal has reached 50,000 in the state and around 10,000 in Patiala say the aim is to target monkeys that pose a serious threat to people in the state of Punjab, as the animals move into towns and cities looking for food. Usually creating havoc by chasing and attacking residents, injuring them and snatching their belongings. Complaints with civic bodies and Divisional Forest Offices have been pending mainly because there is nowhere the animals can be kept after they are caught.
Jasmer Singh, DFO, Wildlife, Patiala, said that once the centre is functional, forest officials in Punjab will be able to catch monkeys from residential areas and send them across so that they can be “taught to be decent and live socially with other monkeys”.
Officials accuse them of a variety of bad behaviour from terrorising children, snatching food from people and destroying property. Macaque monkeys routinely destroy TV antennae, tear down clothes-lines and damage parked scooters and motorcycles. “Besides people landing in hospitals after encounters with monkeys, the animals also often get hurt when house owners try to chase them away or keep them out by using live electric wires and other means,” Mr Luna added.
Minister for Forests and Wildlife Tikshan Sud said that the case file has already been sent to the Central Zoo Authority. “We will build a state of the art centre that will have good facilities for monkeys and their treatment,” Sud said adding that a location on Dakala Road in Patiala has been identified.
“We have proposed a composite facility where scientific methods will be employed to change and alter the social habits of the monkeys,” Mr Luna said. Wildlife officials hope to reduce aggression and train the monkeys to be more like the wild animals they originally were. It is hoped that the school will eventually become a temporary home for up to 100 rogue monkeys. It will begin with 15-20 animals complete with a quarantine area and a veterinary hospital. Mr Luna added that work on the school would begin as soon as possible.