Setting monkeys to catch monkeys

Forest department sets up life-size Langur dolls to drive the real McCoys away

July 08, 2019 01:13 am | Updated 01:13 am IST - MACHILIPATNAM

A farmer fixing the audio equipment to be used to drive away monkeys in Krishna district.

A farmer fixing the audio equipment to be used to drive away monkeys in Krishna district.

‘Set a thief to catch a thief’ goes the proverb. Even if the set thief is a fake.

To handle the monkey menace across Krishna district, the Forest Department is gearing up to install life-size Langur dolls made of fibre. Moreover, to simulate simian sounds, the dolls would have a built-in sound system that plays automatically to drive the real monkeys away in strategic areas.

“We have received a huge number of calls from various villages, seeking our intervention to address the monkey menace, particularly in the areas of Nuzvid, Mylavaram, Avanigadda and Pamarru. A sound system-fitted fibre Langur dolls are being designed to address the monkey menace,” District Forest Officer N. Ramachandra Rao told The Hindu .

A tough business

The department does not have sufficient number of monkey catchers at the ground level, leaving the task of engaging monkey catchers to the respective panchayat.

“The trade of Langurs is banned as per the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. There are three families that possess Langurs to be used to drive the monkeys away from the villages, earning a livelihood from such activity.

“In Delhi, we will train these families to learn how to mimic the “langur” voice to use their services”, said Mr. Ramachandra Rao.

Lure of fruits

The forest authorities are chalking out a plan to crack a whip on the sale and trade of Langurs.

“The project to replace the Langur in addressing the monkey menace is in a crucial stage. However, increasing the number of fruit-bearing trees appears to be the permanent solution for the monkey menace,” said Mr. Ramachandra Rao.

The department is likely to launch the project within a few weeks.

Incidentally, the monkey menace is rampant in areas where horticulture is thriving.

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