Coimbatore

Fishmonger feeds starving monkeys at Hogenakkal

Raman feeding the monkeys at Hogenakkal in Dharmapuri.

Raman feeding the monkeys at Hogenakkal in Dharmapuri.  

A tribe of monkeys gathered around Raman as he scooped out fists full of cooked rice and dotted the ground with little rice mounds. Spotting Raman lugging his vast aluminium container with cooked rice to the open spot a little away from his fish stall in Hogenakkal, the tribe swung about from the branches and the protective railings to gain his attention.

“It is striking how they come out of nowhere and gather around me the minute they see me carrying the container. I give them morsels sometimes in their hands or leave them on the ground, they take their share and leave,” he says. Vying for the food that Raman cooks almost every day are the stray dogs.

The monkeys at Hogenakkal had lost the ways of the wilderness, thanks to the tourists who fed the animals all and sundry. Cooked fish and rice, snacks were thrown around for the monkeys to feed on. But with the pandemic shuttering the tourist spot that otherwise saw a steady influx of tourists for its picturesque waterfalls, the monkeys were left to starve.

“It is very hard to see them loitering without a speck of food in sight,” says Raman, who sells raw fish in his stall-cum-house in Hogenakkal. With the ban on tourists, I take the fish to the villages in Pennagaram to sell them, he says. Setting aside his own daily livelihood struggles, Raman took upon himself to cook a vast container full of rice for the monkeys.

“Sometimes, it is 5 kg or 10 kg of rice, depending on the availability,” he says. Raman has been sourcing rice from neighbouring shops and houses.

“They may have some spare rice from the rations (Public Distribution System) and I use them to feed the monkeys,” he says. Each day, he cooks the rice, lets it to cool down and then he lugs his container to the spot to feed the monkeys.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 10:50:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/fishmonger-feeds-starving-monkeys-at-hogenakkal/article32311078.ece

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