Anantapur: The gradual disappearance of leafy and fruit-bearing trees in Anantapur district is forcing animals to depend on human habitations for food, and the fallout of this is that human beings are now feeling embattled on home ground, with monkeys making threatening inroads. They ransack buses and cars at LC Gate of the Guttur Hanuman temple, commuters travelling between Penukonda and Anantapur having to protect their valuables with great alertness. More than 10 trains operate between Anantapur and Bengaluru, and every time LC gate closes, a tribe of monkeys enter and grab whatever they can from passengers.
In Penukonda, the simians have been resorting to blackmail, making off with people’s chappals, and not dropping them until given something in return, K. Bharathi from the Fort area said. A tribe of 30 of them usually set out together, which makes it impossible for humans to put up much resistance, the intruders visiting a certain area of Anantapur only once a week in rotation.
No attempt has been made to catch or cage them as, according to hearsay, this would result in the region being afflicted with drought.
More than 300 monkeys stay in the hilly areas of Madakasira municipality, but they spend the day in the town in search of food, which is a relatively new phenomenon, according to 85-year-old Kadiri Narasim-happa, who recalled that these hills were once covered with plenty of vegetation. Stories of them robbing, blackmailing and terrorising humans for their survival are common to cities with a high monkey population.
Much of this could pass for occasional waywardness and indulgently tolerated were it not for the fact that 10 or 11 cases per day of monkey bite are reported in the district alone, according to official sources, while the Primate Research Centre, Jodhpur, one of the three Union government-run institutes, says that more than 1,000 cases of monkey bite are reported every day in cities alone.
Monkeys have had short shrift on the government’s agenda, their battle to feed themselves has not been anticipated nor addressed. In 2007, the State Wildlife Department captured over 19,000 monkeys to translocate to a wildlife sanctuary created at Asola Bhatti mines on the outskirts of Delhi city, reports revealed. Meanwhile, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is working on oral contraceptives for monkeys that can be administered through food. Experts say this will make redundant the capturing of monkeys for sterilisation....