CHENNAI: Six of the eight monkeys that were causing mayhem in an apartment in Sriperumbudur were rescued after the occupants sought help from the Forest Department, a week ago. The primates, according to officials, could have come from nearby forest area, and were surviving on the leftover food in the canteen of a nearby engineering college.
Out of the 2,477 animals rescued by the forest range office in Velachery in the first six months this year, over 1,400 were monkeys, say officials. The staff at the range office that covers three districts — Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur — rescued most of these primates in the suburban areas.
“The rescued animals were either those which lost their way and entered residential areas, or came in search of water and food. We are seeing the second case happening more often these days. All rescued animals are monitored for five days and released back into thick forest,” says a forest department official.
The number of animals rescued, particularly monkeys, increase during rainy season than the peak summer season, say officials. Further, the complaints from Dresidents about the trouble caused by monkeys has also gone up by three times in the recent times, they add.
A staffer at the office says that they attend only emergency calls as they do not have adequate manpower. “Earlier, it was four to five calls a day about monkey menace. Now, it has increased to 15. But we are able to attend only one or two as we also get other calls asking us to rescue snakes and other animals. We can’t go to all the spots in a day because we are only a 12-member team. But the increase in calls could also because people are now aware that the Forest Department does such rescues,” says a staff member at the office.
Other rescues by the department included 538 snakes, 31 deer in places such as Adyar, Kotturpuram, Tambaram and Tiruvallur, and six palm civats in areas including Meenambakkam and Pallavaram. Sixteen owls, 12 parrots and four kites, which were illegally possessed by people, were also rescued. A jackal was rescued from a residential area in Pammal and was later released into the forest. Officials added that hundreds of tortoises which were being smuggled abroad were also rescued.