Hearing a PIL, the high court observed that Bengaluru may follow the Delhi NCT model to shift stray monkeys back to their natural habitats from residential areas.

The Karnataka High Court has directed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the forest department to come up with a scheme to ensure stray monkeys are shifted back to their natural habitats from residential areas, without hurting them.

“Keeping in mind the duty of the state, the safety of humans and welfare of animals, while protecting citizens from the monkey menace, the state government should ensure that the monkeys are not hurt in any manner and shift them to their natural habitat”, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj noted while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate BS Radhanandan from Chamarajpet in Bengaluru.

The court also directed the state government to file a statement and the plan to deal with the issue by July 12.

The court observed that a scheme was implemented in NCT Delhi on the directions of the Delhi High Court and that a similar one could be used to help rehabilitate monkeys that cause disturbance to citizens by entering residential areas of Bengaluru, mostly in search of food.

The petition claimed that monkeys found in and around Bengaluru were of a protected species named bonnet macaque and that the government’s inaction in addressing the menace has led to several unauthorised persons and agencies trapping monkeys as a business.

In 2016, the Karnataka forest department had sought permission and 50 per cent funding from the government to establish monkey parks across the state, including at locations on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Several conservationists had then noted that more monkeys had begun wandering into residential areas due to the loss of their natural habitat to road expansions and metro-related development projects.

Meanwhile, it was reported from Mangaluru that at least six monkeys of the bonnet macaque species were poisoned to death by miscreants. “Such issues are rampant in Bengaluru as well. While we have been urging the concerned departments to resolve the issue in a harmless manner, officials continue to blame each other with no genuine action being taken yet,” an environment and wildlife conservationist said.

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