The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Developing 11 Sanctuaries Could Be The Problem To Over Population Of Monkeys In The Faizabad District

LUCKNOW: Political parties and the Sangh Parivar might be busy cashing in on the post-Liberhan report situation in Ayodhya on the eve of 17th

anniversary of the disputed structure demolition, the temple town is witnessing a campaign of a different kind these days. The district magistrate’s office has been flooded with thousands of post cards sent by people demanding permanent solution to the monkey menace — developing sanctuaries at 11 places to rehabilitate over 20,000 simian population in the Faizabad district which includes the Ayodhya town. In fact, the post card count has crossed 10,000 mark and scores are still pouring in daily.

The response is huge and so has been the problem. While monkeys can be found all over Faizabad, their population density is higher in Ayodhya. The devotees coming to the town feed monkeys as a part of their religious duty, latter being considered as incarnation of Lord Hanuman. But at the same time, the man-monkey conflict has also increased in recent years. While snatching of food items from people, raids in houses and shops by simians trooping around aggressively have

become a routine, monkey bite cases too are on the rise. Sri Ram Hospital at Ayodhya and the Faizabad district hospital receive 100-150 monkey bite cases per month and equal numbers are reported in private clinics.

Last year, an employee of the power department fell from his first floor office during a monkey attack and fractured both his legs. Broken telephone and cable TV wires, too, are a routine. Educational institutions face similar attacks. Faizabad University had to fortify girls’ hostel to prevent monkey intrusions when students refused to attend classes till their demand was met. “Large adult male monkeys are not perturbed by the presence of any, except weapon or lathi-wielding men. They do not fear women or children at all, and snatch food, clothes and other articles of daily use from kitchens and terraces, and passersby on the streets,” rued Awdhesh Prasad, a victim of simian attack.

“More than a temple or a mosque, people here want an end to the monkey menace,” said Scharada Dubey, a social activist and brain behind the campaign. She and members of her group have collected suggestions from people and drafted a rehabilitation proposal based on public-private-partnership model. “The proposal has been drafted keeping in mind the religious sentiments of people and at the same time improve Ayodhya’s prospect as a pilgrim and tourist destination,” she said. The proposal has identified 11 locations in the district for the sanctuaries. “People believe that a sanctuary for monkeys would be a better service to lord Rama,” said Scharada, who herself has been bitten twice by monkeys.

It is this group that motivated the residents of Faizabad and Ayodhya to send post cards to district authorities, local MP and MLAs, mahants of Ayodhya, state and Central governments and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi among others to mount pressure for executing the proposal.

“A sanctuary is also important for monkeys as many of them get injured or killed after being hit by some moving vehicle on the road,” said Dinesh Kumar Singh, a resident of Awadhpuri area. Advocate Jagat Ram blamed rapid urbanisation and shrinking forest cover for the problem. “We have destroyed the natural habitat of monkeys, hence now it’s our duty to provide them a decent place to live,” he said.

People complain that the district administration does not take their problem seriously. “A mere of the Ram Janambhoomi dispute makes them jump but genuine problems fail to evoke any response,” said Prabhat Kumar, a resident.

While Faizabad district magistrate MP Agarwal was not available for comments, other officers pleaded helplessness and said in the absence of orders from the top, they cannot act on their own.


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