Abstract # 109:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 19, 2010 08:15 AM-08:25 AM: Session 19 (Mezzanine Ballroom A/B/C/D) Oral Presentation


HUMAN-MONKEY CONFLICT (HMC) IN NORTHERN INDIA

S. K. Sahoo and A. Kumari
Conservation Himalayas, Uttarakhand Elephant/Tiger Conservation Projects, #977/2, Sector 41-A, Chandigarh, India
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The human-monkey conflict (HMC) issue in the north Indian states of Himachal Pradesh (HP) and Uttarakhand (UTK) has been a serious public concern in the last decade with no scientific solution as yet. The crop depredation by rhesus (Macaca mulatta) in villages and increasing rhesus population along the highways are the two striking monkey related problems in this region. In 1998, a pilot survey was launched in HP to make an assessment of the status of crop damage by rhesus and langurs (Semnopithecus entellus) under the auspices of the Indo-US Primate Project. During 2007-2008, Conservation Himalayas extended this initial work by conducting a HMC survey in Almora, Pithoragarh and Haridwar districts in Uttarakhand. The survey revealed that the average rhesus group size in rural landscapes was larger than in the urban landscapes in UTK and HP. The rhesus crop raiding was more frequent in fringe villages where farmers used no rhesus deterrents to protect crops. Rhesus crop depredation in HP revealed an alarming rate of crop damage in Sirmour district [30.9%], Bilaspur [25%], Solan [15.3%] and Shimla [14.9%]. In UTK, the average rhesus crop depredation rates as perceived by the communities were 33.7% in Almora, 25.3% in Pithoragarh and 34.1% in Haridwar districts. The highway concentration of rhesus groups was more in UTK (0.22 miles travelled per group) than in HP (0.49 miles travelled per group). In most HMC sensitive villages and roadside pockets, people’s groups are gradually building up demand for a solution to the rhesus overabundance. In many human-rhesus interactive zones along the highways, the HMC occurs in the form of human injury by rhesus attack, rhesus road kills and vehicle accidents. We continue to study the rhesus overabundance problem focusing on monitoring HMC areas, developing rhesus population management strategies, community-based HMC mitigation, capacity building, and primate conservation.