(Eds: Recasts, adds details) Hyderabad, Dec 21 (PTI) In bid to curb the growing population of monkeys and resulting menace, the Telangana government has set up a rescue and rehabilitation centre for them in Nirmal district, first such facility in the southern states and second in the county.
The Rs 2.5 crore centre, where monkeys caught from human habitations would be sheltered temporarily for sterilisation, was inaugurated by Forest Minister A Indrakaran Reddy on Sunday.
'We have sentiment towards monkeys. We cannot harm them as we regard them as Lord Hanuman. So in a bid to reduce their population the rehabilitation centre was set up,' he said.
Another similar centre for monkeys was in Himachal Pradesh, theMinister said.
A Forest official said monkeys caught in different areas would be brought to the rehabilitation centre where they will be sterilised throughlaparoscopy and vasectomyto curtail the population of the primates.
'The centre will have fruit bearing trees to feed the monkeys. They will be vaccinated also. Once they are ready to go back to the wild, they will be transported back to forest areas, the official said.
It was the responsibility of the Gram Panchayats to capture the monkeys in the villages and provide information to the Forest Department officials who will in turn transport the simians to the rehabilitation centre, the official added.
People living in the Nirmal area have a long association with monkeys as the towns surroundings become a habitat for the primates with historic sites, forts, towers, ponds and forested areas.
The monkeys lost their habitat as the historic buildings over a period became dilapidated and fell into disrepair forcing them to enter villages and agricultural fields, the official said.
The Forest Department had issued orders on May 7, 2016, for setting up of the first rehabilitation centre at Chincholi near Nirmal town. PTI VVK GDK VS VS