Deficient impact of the monkey sterilization program

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Thirteen years of Monkey sterilization program have gone past (2006-2019). Yet the effect achieved from the program has been bare minimum. As per forest department data in 2004 there was a total population of 3.17lac monkeys in the state, which in 2019 as per departmental sources (Unofficial) remains at 2.50lac monkeys approximately. Meaning a reduction of 21% in the simian population. The monkey nuisance has become a political issue with various parties posing to be the saviors of farmers raising voice for effective measures to curb monkey menace. Every year the issue is discussed in the Vidhan Sabha, with most public representatives advocating. Yet the result that after 13 years of a scientific process, the population could barely get reduced, and season after season, the simians continue to give birth to new ones.

Experts say that the problem is with the irrational method being applied for the simian sterilization. Working on a half baked strategy, the authorities would never able to curb down this menace, they add. ‘The problem is with the targets setting exercise for sterilization of monkeys,” they inform. Adding that the birth rate among monkeys is approximated at 22% per annum. Of the 22% around 7% is considered to be mortality rate. Therefore leaving 15% i.e those monkeys who are likely to play a role in giving birth.  So if there are 2.50lac monkeys then those which have potential to give birth in a year should be around 38 thousand, they state.  The forest department data states that till date around 1.54lac monkeys have been sterilized. Only if those numbers could have been sterilized in a scientific manner, the menace should have been over now, state experts. It is obvious that if the number of simians has been declining so fast the nuisance they cause would not have increased to such an alarming extent that calls for drastic measures like killing, they stated.

Clear from data that average monkey being sterilized per annum are 12 thousand statewide. Letting loose another 28 thousand which have potential to give birth. Considering half males and half female among the left out 28thousand and if each female gives birth to 2 siblings, then yearly 28thousand more monkeys get added to the population. Cumulative in since last 10 years, the population should have increased by 2.80lac.

Another factor out of the total monkeys caught for sterilization roughly 20% are those which have already been operated before. So to compensate that number extra 20% monkey need to be sterilized yearly. If 38000 monkeys was the yearly target then additional 20% i.e 7600 monkeys also need to be caught to compensate the figure.

No wonder the forest department understands about the gap in their working methodology, which could be reason that no monkey population figures have been released publically after 2015.Though the forest department website displays monthly data of monkey sterilization (Though not updated after Feb 2019), but it does not chart the above stated factors like sterilization target per year, already operated monkeys caught in the process and other such details and thus the simian population continues to escalate.

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