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22 Oct 2018, Edition - 1196, Monday

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Coimbatore

Concern over rising monkey deaths in road accidents

Renald A. Frank

Image credit : Illustrative Image

Coimbatore: The alarming rise in the number of animals, especially monkeys, getting killed in road accidents is cause for concern, say animal welfare activists.

Monkeys get killed since they stray into roads in search of food and this was easily being made available by tourists. Right from the time they are infants, monkeys get used to being fed by tourists. This made them completely dependent on human beings since they never learnt to be self-sustained in forests. This made them come onto roads and get hit by speeding vehicles. Poor visibility added to such accidents.

Under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, feeding of monkeys is prohibited and can lead to a jail term extending up to three years. In spite of this, forest officials turn a blind eye to feeding of animals.

Madhur Ganesh, founder of Human Animal Society, says, “Monkeys which were created to eat plants, raw vegetables or other sources of food available inside the forests now prefer food like corn, biryani, chips and pakodas which is not good for their health. Monkeys eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables but when human beings feed them, they forget their skill of hunting.”
A research by Ashmita Sengupta from NIAS, Bengaluru says, “Monkeys have reduced intake of fruits from trees due to feeding by human beings. Monkeys are an important seed dispenser for many fruit varieties in forests”. Owing to feeding of monkeys by human beings, we are actually causing stress and disease to these mammals which also results in behavioural changes.”

Sirajuddin, co-ordinator of Wildlife Nature Conservation Trust in Coimbatore says the speed of vehicles should be fixed between 25-30 km/hr in areas close to the forest. This was to prevent animals from getting injured.

An event to promote this would take place in Coimbatore on March 3 where efforts would be made to educate people on wildlife conservation. Pamphlets would also be distributed, he added.

Though the number of animals killed in road accidents could notbe ascertained, efforts were being made by Wildlife Trust of India located in NCR region at Noida to protect animals where “we would also be able to send incidents related to animals getting hit on roads along with the exact location by downloading a form online”, he said. Monkeys which got close to humans could easily be captured or killed.

COIMBATORE WEATHER