KALPETTA: The sterilisation and rehabilitation of monkeys that are currently roaming free in human habitats in Wayanad, posing threat to life and property, continues to be a distant dream. Thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the forest department, the 500-strong monkey population has been creating endless trouble for people living within the Kalpetta municipality limits and many other locations for more than two decades.
Interestingly, there are a series of court orders including one from the High Court to the forest department to immediately rehabilitate the monkey population. Last year in October, plans were on to form a joint team of forest and revenue officials, veterinarians from the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU), Pookkode to begin the sterilization and rehabilitation process but nothing materialized.
Though a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a Rs 30 lakh project was signed between the varsity and the forest department in May, 2015, the forest department reportedly backed out of the project. South Wayanad DFO Abdul Aziz told this paper that the department was yet to implement the project. “We are setting up our own facility at Mandamala near Kalpetta where we have already conducted some trial surgeries,” he added.
“We will catch the troublesome monkeys from human habitats according to the complaints of the public,” he added. As per the earlier plan, the forest department would trap the animals in cages while veterinarians would handle the sterilization. Dr George Chandy, head of the Wildlife Studies' Centre under KVASU told this paper that the centre was ready to extend assistance using the mobile surgery clinic of the Varsity. “I don't know what happened to the project,” he said.