To curb the monkey menace in the state capital the Forest Department has started sterilizing the macaque population in and around Gangtok from September 18.
The Forest department has identified three belts in Gangtok to conduct the sterilization operation - Namnang-Tashiling Secretariat, Dichenling-Tashi View Point and Bulbuley.
Chief Wildlife Warden Sandeep Tanbe said that in the initial stage over 400 monkeys from three major groups will be systematically sterilized. He said that the captured monkeys will then be released in the same areas from where they were captured except major urban areas as their social structure will be maintained and also since they have now become urbanized and will not do very well in the wild. The veterinary officers in Gangtok will be trained by experts from Himachal Pradesh.
Forest department officials said the most feasible way to check the monkey population was to sterilize 80 per cent of the primate population and send them back to the same place from where they were captured without causing any physical harm to them.
Also Read: Sikkim's civil society warns government on the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act
This is the first time in the Himalayan state that such a mass monkey sterilization programme is being done in an integrated manner. The state government in August had notified a fine of Rs 5,000 if anyone was found feeding monkeys.
The monkey menace in urban and semi-urban areas in Sikkim has become a major problem for locals as well as the authorities who are facing lots of problems to curb the menace. Forest department officials said the number of monkeys is increasing at an unnatural rate in Gangtok due to the availability of food and becoming a safety and security issue.
These monkeys are now leaving their natural habitats and migrating to urban areas terrorising the local population in this process.
After the pilot project in Gangtok, the sterilization programme to stabilise the monkey population will be carried out in other urban areas of the state and also in some rural areas where the macaque population has exploded in recent times.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today