900 simians infected with zoonotic diseases

Kathmandu, May 22

At least 900 of the total 1,627 simians recorded in the Kathmandu Valley are infected with zoonotic diseases, shows a recent study by wildlife expert Dr Mukesh Kumar Chalise.

According to Dr Chalise, at least 50 per cent of the monkeys are suffering from zoonotic diseases like tuberculosis, herpes B virus, Down syndrome, hydrocele, diarrhoea, obesity and various skin diseases like scabies. “This has reduced their life expectancy by 10 years,” he said.

The Pashupati temple area, Swoyambhu, Nilbarahi, Gokarna, Sankhu, Thapathali, Patan Durbar, Nagarjun and Mudkhu are the main habitats of monkeys in the Valley.

Chalise has advised people visiting these places not to offer junk food to the monkeys. “Monkeys have fallen prey to zoonotic diseases due to consumption of junk food and their closeness with human beings.

Zoonotic diseases, if transmitted to human beings, could be fatal,” he said, adding that infected monkeys remain alive due to their strong immunity. He claimed Dr Chalise claimed that monkeys were healthy in the 90s, but as they got closer to human beings they started begging for food.

As a result they became the victim of zoonotic diseases. “During study, we found that no monkey lived for more than 10 years, but their numbers continued to increase due to early breeding,” he said.

According to him, monkeys have started moving to human settlements in search for food. “ This has increased further risk of the monkeys transmitting zoonotic diseases to human beings,” he said.

There were around 1,043 simians in the Valley in 1995 but in 2016 their population has increased to 1,627.

According to Dr Chalise, there are 450 monkeys in Pashupati area, 450 in Swoyambhu, 125 in Nilbarahi, 150 in Gokarna, 175 in Sankhu, 70 in Thapathali, seven in Patan Durbar, 100 in Nagarjun and 100 in Mudkhu currently.