Shimla: With the principal wildlife warden proposing a stakeholders meeting for developing a joint strategy to contain the monkey menace, Kheti Bacho Sangarsh Samithi (KBSS) has asked farmers organizations for a moratorium to the simian shooting campaign that it is spearheading.
Convener KBSS, Kuldeep Tanwar said that itâ€™s not a wild animal versus human beings conflict but farmers have been forced to use the gun to save crops and protect their means of livelihood as at places 4 crops in succession have been completely destroyed
He said that in a meeting with the Samithi, the chief wildlife warden has assured of soon holding a meeting with farmers, representatives of state and central governments, members of Animal Welfare Board, National Board of Wildlife and animal rights organizations to find a solution to the problem that farmers are facing in Himachal.
Asking associate organizations to put a halt to the monkey culling campaign, KBSS has sought a solution to the problem. Putting the crop annual damages to crops because of overgrown populations of monkeys, wild boars and antelopes (neelgai) at Rs 2000 crore, Tanwar said, â€œCompensate the farmers if a solution cannot be found or be ready to face a more intense agitation.â€
Responding to animal rights groups contention that the problem was because of human populations were intruding into forested areas, KBSS holds that governments policies of de notifying large forest tracts and diverting them for cement plants, hydroelectric projects, construction purposes or encouraging more intrusion into forest areas under eco-tourism projects were responsible for shrinking of natural habitats.
Tanwar pointed out that under Wildlife Protection Act â€“ 1972, export of monkeys was banned and the state government banned hunting in 1983. â€œanimal rights groups were taking a narrow view, he said. Whereas the government is not considering about lifting the ban on export of monkeys, the hapless farmer is trapped between his only means livelihood and the law, he added.
About apprehensions expressed by Punjab and Haryana farmers about exodus of monkeys into farmlands in the plains, he said that no monkey killing operation took place on the border areas of the state.
The monkey culling operation which began on 10th December, which is celebrated as the Human Rights Day and was to end on 23rd December. Reports put the about 100 simians have been killed, even though hundreds of licenses were issued to farmers for the random operation.
Animal rights groups have approached the High Court and notices have been issued to state and central government, the chief wildlife warden and the animal welfare board. The matter comes up before the court on 27th December.