Rhesus Macaque In India

Rhesus Macaque In India

The rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), also known as the rhesus monkey, is an Old World monkey species. Between six and nine subspecies have been identified, which are divided into two groups: Chinese-derived and Indian-derived. 
 
In Himachal Pradesh's 11 districts, 91 tehsils and sub-tehsils, monkeys have been declared vermin for the next year.
 
Monkeys have been causing damage to crops and inflicting danger to humans, according to the state government, which has petitioned the federal government to deem them pests.
 

WHY IN NEWS?

Rhesus Macaque In India
In Himachal Pradesh, the Union Environment Ministry has proclaimed monkeys (Rhesus Macaque) to be "vermin."
 
For one year, local authorities will be able to cull this species in specific non-forest regions of Shimla.
 
Due to the overpopulation of this species outside of woods, the state authorities claimed danger to life and property, including large-scale loss of crops.
 
The Rhesus Macaque monkey is a protected species under Schedule II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. However, if it poses a threat to human life or property, the legislation enables it to be hunted by declaring it'vermin' for a set amount of time.
 
It's no surprise that, less than a month after the Himachal government approved the culling, Uttarakhand has proclaimed monkeys to be "vermin," thereby asking for their eradication.
 

VERMIN ANIMAL

States can transmit a list of wild animals to the Centre under Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, requesting that it label them vermin for selective slaughter.
 
Species are classified into'schedules,' which range from I to V. In theory, Schedule I members are the best protected, with harsh penalties meted out to anyone who kill them.
 
Schedule II and III members include wild boars, nilgai, and rhesus monkeys, which are likewise protected but can be shot under certain conditions.
 
Species are classified into'schedules,' which range from I to V. In theory, Schedule I members are the best protected, with harsh penalties meted out to anyone who kill them. Schedule II and III members include wild boars, nilgai, and rhesus monkeys, which are likewise protected but can be shot under certain conditions. Crows and fruit bats are classified as pests in Schedule 5.
 
The Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) section 11(1)a allows the chief wildlife warden to allow hunting of any troublesome wild animal only if it cannot be trapped, tranquillized, or translocated.
 
If wild species in Schedules II, III, or IV have become threatening to humans or property, the chief wildlife warden or authorised officials can allow hunting in a specific region (including standing crops on any land).
 
The Act's Section 62 allows the Centre to declare wild animals not included in Schedules I and II to be pests for a specific area and time period.
 

ABOUT RHESUS MACAQUE

•    It's dark or grey in colour and measures 47–53 cm (19–21 in) long with a 20.7–22.9 cm (8.1–9.0 in) tail, weighing 5.3–7.7 kg (12–17 lb). 
 
•    It is endemic to South, Central, and Southeast Asia, and it has the largest geographic range of any nonhuman primate, occupying a wide range of altitudes and habitats, from grasslands to desert and forested places, as well as being close to human settlements. 
 
•    Feral colonies have been discovered in the United States, and are likely to have been released by people or escaped from zoos and wildlife parks that were destroyed by storms.
 
•    The rhesus macaque is a terrestrial, arboreal, and diurnal mammal. 
 
•    It is primarily herbivorous, consuming predominantly fruit, but also seeds, roots, buds, bark, and cereals. 
 
•    According to studies, it consumes about 100 distinct plant species. It also eats invertebrates, drinks water from streams and rivers, and has cheek pouches that can store food temporarily.
 
•    The IUCN red list classifies it as least concern.
 

WILL CULLING HELP OR IS IT A BAD IDEA?

Removing people by capture or assassination may not prevent disputes from recurring, and may even intensify them. In Himachal Pradesh, for example, hundreds of rhesus macaques were murdered in 2007, with hostilities reoccurring within two years. Since 2007, approximately 96,000 macaques have been sterilised, although conflicts have increased.
 
When animals are hunted, some are shot multiple times, causing excruciating pain, but many others escape with with a single gunshot or flesh wound, dying later from blood loss, gangrene, malnutrition, or dehydration. Orphaned offspring are left to starve when mother animals are slain.
 
Provisions that allow for the killing of wild animals can be easily abused, contributing to the illegal wildlife trade. In Uttar Pradesh, there is already a large black market for nilgai body parts like as skin, teeth, nails, and flesh, and wild boar is frequently utilised for meat.
 
Wildlife species such as wild pigs, elephants, macaques, and nilgai have been known to cause crop and property damage in parts of India. However, there are no accurate national estimates of economic loss.
 

WHAT OTHER ALTERNATIVES GOVERNMENT CAN TAKE?

Rhesus Macaque In India
Culling in India has never worked. In a country like where we have religious sentiments associated with animals culling has proved to be ineffective and attracts lots of protests and criticism.
 
Back in 2016, 5 states decided to cull monkeys but it failed because people were not ready to kill them. Also when Bihar in 2015 passed the law to cull Nilgais it witnessed huge protests from animal activists. Though government has taken step to solve human animal conflicts from time to time but it does seem to work.
 
The actual issue for these species is that India's wildlife laws focus on animals that dwell in protected regions, leaving those found outside with minimal protection.
 
It would be beneficial for us to learn from the experiences of other countries dealing with comparable problems. Consider the United Kingdom, where the government plans to exterminate more than 50,000 badgers as part of its attempts to protect cattle from disease. Despite this, the British government has little or no evidence that badger culls have helped reduce the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis when asked.
 
In Cape Town, South Africa, baboons, like rhesus monkeys, have been wreaking havoc, breaking into people's homes and biting children, and there is yet another regulation allowing for their extensive slaughter. The first thing you should know is that there is a specific system for deciding whether or not an animal should be culled.
 
Culling has worked in Australia, where it is widely employed as a management method, since the area is an island, preventing other species from moving in.
 
These are crucial lessons for India to consider before implementing culling as a wildlife management policy.
 
Good practical science and wildlife biologists that can help develop solutions are urgently needed.
 
Here are few ways Indian government can employ instead of culling.
 
•    Wildlife may cause crop damage when they enter crop fields as a result of habitat fragmentation and alteration, because crops are edible, or because the fields are located near forest areas or water sources. For this, site-specific scientific data is required, which will aid in the design of targeted mitigation with the input of those who would be impacted. This includes assisting local communities in installing — and, more importantly, maintaining — bio-fence and power fencing around susceptible regions on a long-term basis.
 
•    Crop insurance for wildlife damage, as recently advocated by the Environment Ministry, could be incorporated in the National Crop/Agricultural Insurance Program. Rather than considering wildlife as opponents belonging to the State that one wishes away, an insurance approach sees wildlife as a component of the shared landscape and a risk to be mitigated.
 
•    Solutions such as appropriate fence, noisemakers, and natural animal repellents such as chilli plants or other similar methods can be tried.

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