Monkeys are 'vermin' in India's Himachal, incentive up to Rs 500

The incentive was first introduced early this month and is meant to cover the cost of the cartridge or any other expenses which people might incur in killing the monkeys. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Shimla, Himachal Pradesh Sep 23, 2016, 11.36 AM (IST)

Even as India's central government considers the extension of the period when monkeys can be freely culled in Himachal Pradesh, the government of the northern state has raised the monetary incentive for citizens to kill monkeys.

The amount for culling a monkey has been hiked from Rupees 300 ($4.48) to Rupees 500 ($ 7.46), Reuters reported. Himachal Pradesh has about 200,000 monkeys which the state government says pose a threat to the livelihood of farmers by destroying crops. Attempts, including sterilisation, to check the population of monkeys have not worked so far.  

The state government has asked for the 'vermin' status of monkeys to be extended by another year, while it prepares a 'comprehensive plan' to deal with their growing population, Reuters reported.

Himachal forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri said that the amount was revised after people complained that the existing incentive was too low, Reuters reported.

Monkeys were declared 'vermin' in the state by the federal government for six months to allow culling on the basis of data provided by the wildlife department. The period ended on September 14.

The incentive was first introduced earlier this month and is meant to cover the cost of the cartridge or any other expenses which one might incur in killing the monkey.

Reuters said, quoting government data, the state has about 200,000 monkeys that cause a loss of about 2 billion rupees ($30,000,314.36) to agriculture and horticulture each year.

Monkeys are a common sight in the state capital, Shimla. Rapid urbanisation has led to destruction of natural habitats of wild animals forcing them to head to human settlements for food and shelter.

(WION with inputs from agencies)