Conservation's flip side
This refers to the cover story Out of Control (16-31 August, 2015). It is a timely write-up. The havoc caused by monkeys is much greater than what is captured in the story. Villages in Himachal Pradesh used to be self-sufficient in vegetables and fruits. Now, monkeys have become such a menace that they do not spare anything. They even sneak into houses, open refrigerators and steal food. Constant vigil is not only time consuming, but also futile as monkeys raid villages in troops. It seems the Wildlife Protection Act envisages protecting wild animals at the cost of crop production. Perhaps the act was passed by Parliamentarians who were unaware of the ground realities and problems of rural India. I wish wildlife advocates place themselves in the conditions faced by poor farmers. The ministry concerned should immediately declare monkeys, blue bulls, sambar deer and pigs, whose numbers are exploding in the absence of their natural predators like leopards, as vermins. Also, why can't India earn foreign exchange by exporting monkeys to other countries when beef is being exported?
R C MISHRA
COMMERCIAL HORTICULTURIST PALAMPUR, HIMACHAL PRADESH