Nagaland elephants spoil HP’s monkey move (India)


Anand Bodhi, Times of India

Date Published


Himachal Pradesh’s grand plan of tackling the monkey menace plaguing the state by sending these to three northeast states – Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram- has been virtually trampled by elephants.
Principal secretary (forest and wildlife) Tarun Kapoor had discussed this exchange offer with all northeast states and three of these had agreed to the exchange of monkeys with some other wild animals. The process was to kick-start after a formal proposal from these states.But the exchange offer from Nagaland — grappling with an elephant menace — of sending its pachyderms in exchange for the monkeys shook the state wildlife department brass, making them back out.

Principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) S S Negi said, “Nagaland had asked us whether it was possible to send its herds of elephants to Himachal, but we said no.” This has also put paid to Himachal’s plan of sending out its monkeys to north-eastern states.

Slamming the exchange proposal, former Indian forest service officer and president of Himachal Kisan Sabha, Dr Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, said it was foolish of Himachal Pradesh to even think of transporting monkeys to the northeast states.

Tanwar said elephants cannot come to the hills as the climate and altitude is unsuitable for them and forage is lacking. He said the idea of transporting wild animals was not feasible as the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) protocol is to be followed and wild animals need to be transported under proper veterinary supervision to ensure their well-being. “Himachal is not able to tackle monkey menace, would it be able to tackle the elephant menace,” he asked.

In 1977, Zoological Survey of India had reported 19,500 rhesus macaque in Himachal, but their count rose to 2,26,086 in 2013. A study conducted in 2015 put their estimated population at around 2.06 lakh.