Delhi’s monkeys may be sterilised, get IDs

New Delhi: Delhi may witness its first-ever scientific sterilisation programme for monkeys to tackle their growing population and issuance of unique IDs, an animal welfare organisation said on Thursday.

For this, Wildlife SOS said, it is now awaiting a nod from the Delhi High Court to which it had submitted a proposal on tackling the growing population of rhesus macaques.

The court will hear the matter on November 7.

Once it gets the nod, the organisation proposes to launch a survey to identify troops of monkeys across the national capital, and tag them to give each one a unique identity number to avoid overlapping of vaccination or sterilisation.

“Final collaboration is due and after the court nod and paperwork with the Forest Department, we will begin the work,” an official of Wildlife SOS told IANS.

In 2016, Wildlife SOS joined hands with Agra Development Authority and extended its services in the first-ever scientific sterilisation programme in the City of Taj, which aims at particular monkey group or individual, rather than catching hold of any monkey and performing surgery thereon.

Following the success of Agra endeavour, the Delhi High Court directed authorities in the national capital to prepare an action plan on this project.

“The monkeys will be tattooed with troop/individual code to avoid re-trapping. An expert team of veterinarians from Wildlife SOS will then vaccinate them against rabies and tetanus and conduct sterilisation,” said Wildlife SOS in a statement.

The project aims at tackling conflict between humans and rhesus macaques in a scientific and humane way through vaccinations, laparoscopic surgical intervention on monkeys while ensuring minimal stress to the animals.

According to the organisation, relocating monkeys is not a solution but merely shifting the problem, since monkeys have homing instincts and return to public areas they have previously roamed while looking for food.

“Human provisioning and feeding of rhesus macaques by people for religious sentiments have habituated these animals. It is need of the hour to sterilise the monkeys for long- term control of their population,” Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said.

According to Wasim Akram, who manages Wildlife SOS’ special projects, the first step will be to conduct a thorough census of the rhesus macaque population in Delhi and then establish a dedicated monkey hotline to understand and document which areas have major animal-human conflict.

“We will then carry out a phase-wise operation in demarcated conflict areas. The success of the model will depend on proper survey,” Akram said.