November 15, 2015
Tourist footfall to hill stations like Ooty, Yercaud and Kodaikanal has drastically reduced due to the bad weather. The unlikely victims of this unexpected development are the wild monkeys that are starving for food.
The recent downpour in the Yercaud hills had disrupted tourist movements and monkeys that usually sit on roads awaiting ‘tourist feeding’ were swooning or dying.
Tourists who drive up to these hill stations love feeding the wild monkeys, out of compassion. This trend, says K Kalidasan, President, OSAI Environmental Organization, must be stopped.
“Monkeys and other animals have their own natural diet. They live in a natural environment and are capable of finding and feeding on the food that is available in nature. People, out of love, have started feeding the monkeys items like biscuits and cooked snacks. Sadly, the monkeys have become addicted to these eatables that they have forgotten their food gathering instincts,” he says. Kalidasan advises the tourists to not feed the monkeys.
Seconding this opinion is V. Palaniappan, Vice President of Coimbatore-based Nest Organization. “We humans are responsible for spoiling the ecological balance of animals and nature. We must firstly stop feeding monkeys and other animals with food that we consume. This will enable them to live a natural life,” Palaniappan says.
Monkeys and other animals, on getting used to eating processed and human-food, have lost the taste for the food that is available in nature. Their bodies are unable to digest the natural food anymore. This, Kalidasan says, can result in monkey-man conflict. “When the monkeys are not given food by the tourist, there are chances that the animals could barge into people’s homes and shops in search of cooked food. This dangerous sign is a clear indication that such monkeys are unable to consume food that is readily available to them in nature, like jackfruits and bananas,” Kalidasan says.
If we want to show our kindness and compassion for animals, we must focus on afforestation instead of interfering with the natural food system of the animal