Wild monkeys sitting atop a house at Sasthamcotta
Wild monkeys sitting atop a house at Sasthamcotta Photo | Express

Monkey menace disrupts lives of Sasthamcotta residents in Kerala

According to the Sasthamcotta panchayat, hundreds of monkeys who have left the temple premises are wreaking havoc in the residential areas.

KOLLAM: For 69-year-old Solomon A, a resident of Sasthamcotta, every day is a battle. The increasing menace of monkeys in the region has forced him, like many others, to avoid opening his windows or doors during the day for fear of monkeys ransacking his home. The local residents have suffered extensive damage to their homes, pipelines, and farmland due to the menace.

“As elderly people, we are scared to step outside or even open our windows during the day,” Solomon told TNIE, recalling the traumatic experience of dealing with the wild monkeys. “The monkeys would enter our homes and create chaos. For the past six months, we have kept our homes shut during the day. If they can’t get inside, they destroy our water pipelines, tanks, and land. We’ve endured this for eight months now, but no action has been taken by the authorities.”

The monkeys of Sasthamcotta have a historical connection with the Shri Dharma Sastha Temple, where they are traditionally fed during festivities. However, monkeys leaving the temple grounds have begun terrorising the residents nearby. According to the Sasthamcotta panchayat, hundreds of monkeys who have left the temple premises are wreaking havoc in the residential areas. The panchayat and forest officials are now struggling to find a solution to the problem.

Rajesh, another resident, said, “The monkeys showing wild behaviour in the temple would be removed from the temple premises. And these monkeys, accustomed to getting food at the temple, turn violent as they fail to find any. Unfortunately, the officials haven’t taken any measures to control the menace. It is increasing each day.”

Last year, the panchayat and the forest department devised a plan to mitigate the problem -- place cages in high-impact areas and trap and relocate the monkeys to the Thenmala forest. However, this initiative faced severe opposition from animal advocates and enthusiasts.

“You can’t catch hundreds of monkeys with nets or cages. The only viable solution is to cut off their food supply. When feeding stops, they will return to the forest,” said D Shine Kumar, head of the District Veterinary Centre, Kollam.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com