Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, January 28, 2023

Order to cull HP’s ‘vermin’ monkeys draws activists’ ire





Union environment ministry has declared monkeys (Rhesus Macaque) as ‘vermin’ in Himachal Pradesh, allowing local authorities to cull this animal in certain identified non-forest areas in Shimla for one year. The move has, however, attracted the ire of animal rights activists.




The decision, notified last week, was taken on request of the state government which reported harm to life and property, including large-scale destruction of agriculture due to overpopulation of this species outside forests.




Though Rhesus Macaque monkeys are protected species under Schedule II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the law allows for it to be hunted by declaring it ‘vermin’ for a specific period if it poses a danger to human life or property.




“The declaration of macaques as vermin is a fraud played by the central and state governments to cancel utter mismanagement of forests and wildlife. Himachal Pradesh forest department’s website clearly shows a marked decline in the number of monkeys in the state, yet the Centre declares it as vermin due to overpopulation,” said animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi.




Citing previous instances, she said, “The monkeys mistakenly sterilized by the government has cost the taxpayer ₹50 crore. The mass surgical sterilization of wild animals backfired. Now a notification for killing them will only compound the blunder.”






The Times of India, 19 July, Chennai.