Right after the Himachal Pradesh government’s decision to give a Rs 300 incentive for killing a monkey, a Delhi-based foundation has announced cash awards for saving animals like monkeys, dogs and cows in various places in the country.
Killing monkeys is a sin. Those killing monkeys would invite the wrath of god and to save people from calamities, a balancing act of saving monkeys is required.Yogi Ashwani Swami, Founder, Dhyan Foundation
The foundation announced an award of Rs 300 to save monkeys and dogs in Himachal Pradesh and Kerala respectively and Rs 500 for saving cows in the country.
The foundation has been feeding monkeys daily at the Jakoo Temple, Shimla and urging the authorities to remove the ‘vermin’ tag that they’ve been saddled with.
In an effort to ‘tackle’ the increasing monkey menace in towns and villages, the Himachal Pradesh government on Wednesday announced a cash incentive of Rs 300 for each monkey killed outside the forests where they have been declared ‘vermin’ by the central government.
Currently home to 2,07,614 monkeys, the notification allows mass killing or culling of monkeys in Himachal Pradesh.
Quoting the agriculture department report of 2014, Forests Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri said that monkeys and other wild animals damaged agricultural crops worth Rs 184 crore annually.
He said the loss to horticulture crops was estimated at Rs 150 crore between 2006 and 2014.
A notification was issued on 14 March by the central government, declaring monkeys vermin in Shimla for a period of six months. Another notification was issued in May to treat monkeys as vermin for a period of one year in 38 tehsils of the state including Chamba, Kangra, Una, Bilaspur, Sirmaur, Kullu, Hamirpur, Solan and Mandi.
The number of monkeys in Himachal Pradesh increased five-fold from 61,000 to 317,000 between 1990 and 2004, according to the state wildlife department. Their number has however since declined, presumably due to the state government’s sterilisation programme.
Bharmouri said a committee has been formed consisting of a Divisional Forest Officer, an Assistant Conservator of Forest and a Range Forest Officer to determine and authenticate the claims for disbursement of incentives.
(This article was published in an arrangement with IANS and PTI)