- The Centre has turned down the Himachal Pradesh government’s request to declare rhesus macaque monkeys ‘vermin’ again.
- The state had requested the union ministry of environment, forests and climate change to declare monkeys vermin again, after an earlier notification in this regard, expired in April.
Meaning of Vermin
- Vermin means wild mammals and birds which are harmful to crops, farm animals or which carry disease.
- In India, wild animals can be declared as vermin if they have become
- dangerous to human life or property (including standing crops on any land).
- become disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery.
- Using these provisions, any animal listed in Schedule I to IV of WPA can be declared vermin by listing it in Schedule V for a specific period. This power has been given to MoEFCC by section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972.
- Currently, some animals like the common crow, fruit bats, mice and rats have been listed as vermin in Schedule V of WPA.
- In last few years, Wild Pig (sus scrofa) were also declared Vermin in states such as Uttarakhand.
- The proposal to declare an animal vermin has to be forwarded by state governments.
- Once the monkeys are put in the vermin category, the forest department can cull them so as to prevent crop depredation, conflict with humans, and loss of property.
- The Centre had declared monkeys vermin for the first time in 2016 in 93 tehsils of Himachal Pradesh by way of a notification.
- Since then, the Centre extended the permission to cull monkeys at least four times. Of the total 12 districts, monkeys menace is prevalent in 10.
- Of the 17,794 villages in the state, 2,300 are badly hit.
- In 2016, the agriculture department reported a crop loss of ₹184.28 crore due to wild animals, particularly monkeys.
- Following the latest request, the Centre asked the state how many monkeys were killed by farmers during the period in which they were put in the vermin category.
- The government had to file a review petition before the ministry to declare monkeys vermin again. But it could not be done.
Statistics of monkey Population
- As per the 2020 census, Himachal Pradesh has a monkey population of 1, 36,443.
- In 2004, their population was more than 3.17 lakh.
- The forest department attributes the reduction in monkey population to the sterilisation programme.
- The forest department has eight monkey sterilisation centres in Shimla, Hamirpur, Kangra, Una, Chamba, Sirmaur and Mandi, besides mobile units.
- Since 2006-07, more than 1.40 lakh monkeys have been sterilised at these centres.
- However, the sterilisation programme has failed to achieve its objectives.
- More than 40,000 monkeys have been killed across the state since they were declared vermin but were not reported.
What is Sterilization?
- Sterilization is the most humane way to control the monkey population, but not if it’s being done in a cruel way.
- P. is the pioneer state in the country having started an innovative programme of monkey sterilization to control the constantly increasing population of monkeys.
- To encourage monkey catchers, the state pays an incentive of Rs 500 per monkey trapped.
- The impact of monkey sterilization programme in stabilizing the monkey population is now visible in many pockets of the State.
- The full impact of sterilization on monkey population shall be discernible in future when sterilization of considerable monkey population shall be achieved at the current pace of sterilization.
- The first rescue and rehabilitation centre for monkeys in Telangana was inaugurated at Gandi Ramanna Haritavanam near Chincholi village in Nirmal district.
- The rehabilitation centre for the monkeys was also the first such facility in south India.
- The other facility in the country was in Himachal Pradesh.
Recently, Which of the following state conducted the “Monkey Census” as a wildlife census 2021:
- Uttar Pradesh