Hyderabad: Forest officials said that the signboards asking travellers not to feed monkeys on sections of some state highways, especially in the Narsapur forests, are being ignored, which is causing problems.
Mr A. Shankaran, officer on special duty, wildlife, said, “People travelling in private vehicles tend to feed monkeys bread and chapathis. These animals get used to the taste and start sitting on the road rather than going inside the forest to look for food.”
Despite the repeated efforts by forest officials to drive the monkeys back into the forest, they tend to come back to the road as they have got used to cooked food. “People who visit temples give bananas and coconuts to monkeys, ensuring a continuous food supply for them on the road,” added Mr Shankaran.
Over 10 hit-and-run cases of monkeys on the highways have been reported from the Narsapur forest stretch.
Mr Ravinder Reddy, an animal rescuer, said, “Monkeys are clever. They never sit alone and move in groups. But sometimes, monkeys fight over food and tend to sit separately.”
With many new tourist spots coming up in the forest areas in Adilabad and Amrabad, district forest officials have been asked to keep a strict watch on tourists to prevent feeding monkeys.
“We have seen the after-effects. They take over the place and eventually people stop visiting in fear of being attacked. Therefore, we have strictly imposed a rule that monkeys should not be fed and are planning to impose a fine,” said a senior forest official. The animals tend to attack when food is not given to them.
Green bid to lure monkeys to the forests
The third round of Haritha Haram was not limited to increasing the green cover but to ensure that the wild animals stay inside the forest. Fruit-bearing trees such as figs, guavas and mahuas were planted so that monkeys will find sufficient food in the forest.
Mr C. Srinivasulu, a senior zoology professor, said, “In India, there is a strong relation between the monkey and the belief system. In the urban eco-system, we have got monkeys habituated to free food. They grow fat without exercise.”
Animal rescuers said that monkeys caught from residential areas are often left in the forest. Animal activist Amrita Surender said, “We often keep in touch with rescue officials when we see monkeys eating from garbage bins. We should take a stance and not feed them.”...