Kill them with kindness

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By Melvin Mathew

BBMP says monkeys fall from buildings, seriously injure themselves when residents feed them, lure them into apartment complexes, but others sedate them to drive them away

Monkeys are constantly seen in apartment complexes across the city, searching for food. You could say that they haunt places that were their home before urbanization took hold of their natural habitat. For this reason, many cases of monkeys injuring themselves by falling from buildings have been reported. According to BBMP, people’s habit of feeding wild animals only fuels this threat.

A bonnet macaque was recently brought to PfA Wildlife Rescue & Conservation Center with a fractured humerus bone. Usually, monkeys suffer such fractures from falling buildings or electrocution in apartment complexes. Usually, such falls cause in monkeys a fracture of the humerus bone (part of the upper limb) and ulna bone (part of the forearm).

“After taking a digital x-ray, very thin intramedullary pins are inserted into the medullary cavity. The pins pass through the broken pieces and are kept there until calcification. In more severe cases, a bone plate is secured with the pins for additional support. Bone regrowth is continuously monitored every 10 to 15 days to decide when to remove the pins. Usually after 45-55 days the bone heals completely. In case it is still brittle, we add a plaster for a few more days, ”said Dr Nawaz. Sharrif, chief veterinarian at PfA Wildlife Rescue & Conservation Center.

Once the bone heals completely, it undergoes mobility exercises before being released back into the wild. At least 10 to 15 cases are brought to the hospital each month. Such cases are quite frequent. Currently, PfA is treating four injured monkeys.

“Monkeys are injured for a variety of reasons. They are chased by dogs and fall from trees due to panic or accidents on NICE Road, or from being electrocuted by swinging from cables and falling from apartment buildings, ”said Sharrif.

Experts have told BM that residents of apartment complexes are hostile to monkeys when they start to become a threat. There have been cases of people popping crackers, hitting animals with sticks and some are even dosed, sedated

“In our observation, all conflict begins with human intervention. Some of these people will feed monkeys due to religious beliefs and when they start heckling they are either sedated or poisoned. Monkeys can’t just fall from buildings, they’re usually dosed, ”said B Reddy Shankar Babu, Special Commissioner for Lakes and Forests, BBMP.

Due to the scarcity of food in their now sparse habitat and the availability of excess food in urban locations, monkeys are also prone to become regular visitors here. Experts have suggested that residents should stop feeding the monkeys. “If you don’t feed them for a few days, the monkeys will be extinct,” Dr Sharrif said.

DCF Govinda Raju noted that monkeys also tend to hang out around old temples. “Usually the temples will also have an excess amount of food lying around and readily available for the monkeys to grab,” he added.

While in the wild, monkeys have to work for their food, the ease of access to food attracts them to these places. To prevent residents from resorting to violence, the BBMP urged citizens to call the 24/7 zonal center number to report the monkeys. A dedicated group of trained animal rescuers will be dispatched to the scene to rescue and capture the monkey as directed.

Photo of another monkey on a tree with a cold drink, possibly stolen from a house

“We also plan to create a dedicated task force with an appropriate team to save uninjured monkeys from urban habitats and release them back into the wild. We are currently studying the right green cover for this purpose, I have already given the green signal for the purchase of vehicles for this purpose, ”Babu added.

BBMP does not have the power to simply capture and release a group of monkeys and must obtain permission from Wildlife Guardian for each case.

Babu added that saving and moving monkeys is a very complex process. “We cannot leave the monkeys in the jungle immediately. Having become accustomed to processed food and a persistent diet, these “urban” monkeys lost the ability to forage for their food. We know of cases where, after resettlement, these monkeys starve. We have to make sure there is a sufficient amount of food for them until they adjust within 3-4 months, ”he said.

He explained that even if they do manage to find food, they still have to consider territorial battles with the native monkeys which could also endanger their survival.

BBMP moves monkeys to Devarayanadurga Forest in Tumakuru district and Sangama Wildlife Sanctuary near Kanakapura. However, this decision has always met with resistance from villagers in the region who complain that the townspeople are blaming their problems on the villagers, which often leads to the destruction of crops and property. According to an official, a proposal has also been launched to move the monkeys to the Shivamogga Forest.

What the monkey sees, the monkey does

The high court recently ordered the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the forestry department to develop a plan to protect both residents and monkeys, and ensure the return of macaques to their natural habitat.

To cope with unplanned urbanization and increase forest cover, the BBMP has taken various measures. “Wherever possible, we try to develop biodiversity parks. But people often show resistance by stating that they want a garden instead. We need to create designated safe spaces for animals that will not be affected by human intervention, ”Babu said.

However, DCF Raju noted that there is no room for large-scale expansion of green coverage. “Planting work is carried out in Turahalli Forest and JB Kaval Forest and existing trees are protected, ”he added.


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