KATHMANDU: Are you visiting Pashupati Area with human foods for monkeys? Beware, for the food that you feed them has prompted artificial physical growth and higher fertility rate among monkeys, leading to increased menace among visitors and locals.
Their reproductive age has come down to two or three years on average from the natural four to five years leading to higher fertility rate. Monkey specialist Mukesh Chalise attributes this to artificial food the monkeys are fed. His research paper published in a journal ‘Perspective of Education’ of Tribhuvan University in 2008 states that they reproduce twice a year in twins, triplets, even in quadruplets, which is rare in the world. Therefore, cases of monkey menace are on the rise in Pashupati and Swoyambhu areas and other nearby settlements in the capital city.
A housewife close to Gaurighat told this daily, her family has been haunted by monkeys who invade in hordes unlike in the past 12 years this season. “They coming mostly with babies, one or two of them, who tear the clothes drying on the roof top, damage flower pots and snap telephone and internet cables,” she said, choosing not to be named. She recently bought a catapult to ward off the monkeys. They also take shelter in houses during rainy season.
Chalise said that the human foods they are given has increased their fertility rate. Several cases of birthing twice a year have also been noticed, which happens once every two to three years in the jungle.
Food-shortage in the shrinking forest has pushed them towards settlements causing a menace to the locals. “Fruits, barks, buds and saps are the natural foods of red-monkey species, however all these things are not available in the Pashupati jungle,” added Chalise. He added that some even steal eggs from the nests of birds nest in the jungle.
A sweetmeat seller in Pashupati, said he often gives sweetmeats and other foods from his kitchen to the monkeys but says he has no idea what comprises the appropriate food for monkeys. Chalise said, “They are closer to human beings as visitors feed them, locals provide food for them regularly and they have the tendency to imitate human beings. They are often mischievous when they are chased, scared and retaliate.”
Gita Ghimire, another woman in the locality of Gaurighat, has a routine of leaving food to the monkeys on the roof of her house every morning.
Single monkeys that stray from the holy site also hassle locals in Chabahil, Siphal, Gaushala, the Airport, Koteswor, Patan and other inner parts. Chalise said the males who are defeated in the fight for sexual intercourse with female monkeys stray for weeks in the inner cities where they steal food.
“Increment of their habitat or control of the monkey population and their transfer to forests where the monkey population has been depleted and using them for medical and scientific research are some measures of preventing their menace,” Chalise said. He also suggests that locals should not feed them, which will cause their population to naturally deplete.