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Monkeys go berserk in Patan Durbar Square, assault men



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By Binu Shrestha

Kathmandu, June 16: For about a year now, monkeys have been posing a threat to Patan Durbar Square of Lalitpur.
Monkeys rampage across the square, damaging the monuments and throwing bricks at the people passing by, increasing the risk of injury.
The simians are getting more aggressive day by day and their population is also increasing. They pounce at any passer-by, scare people and jeopardise their safety, said Sandeep Khanal, chief of Patan Museum.
“The number of monkeys was negligible around one and half years ago when I was appointed as the chief of the museum.
Now, their numbers have increased to more than 100 and they have become extremely violent since the lockdown began,” said Khanal. He also shared an incident of a few days back when a monkey dropped a rope over a walking man, injuring him. They have also bitten four people.
The mischievous primates have also damaged the traditional Jhingati roof tiles of the square’s historic buildings. Many temples there had been newly rebuilt after the earthquake, but they have already been damaged by the monkeys. This has also increased the maintenance and renovation costs.
Lalitpur Metropolitan City (LMC) had carried out a study one and half years ago regarding the serious threat posed by monkey rampage to this historically, archeologically, religiously and culturally significant heritage site, said Chiri Babu Maharjan, LMC Mayor.
“We submitted our report at the Ministry of Forests and Environment (MoFE) a year ago regarding the relocation of the monkeys to a more suitable habitat,” said Mayor Maharjan, “But the ministry has not said anything about resolving the problem. Meanwhile, the monkey population continues to grow, from 25 at the time of submitting the report to over a 100 now.”
Maharjan informed that a monkey expert carried out a study and recommended that the monkeys be relocated to Charkose Jhadi of Dharan. But that needs approval from MoFE which has not arrived yet.
LMC also talked with the Central Zoo about monkey management, but it yielded no results. “If we try to catch the monkeys using nets and other methods then animal activists start claiming a violation of animal rights. The ministry has not approved their relocation. Meanwhile, the apes continue to wreak havoc in the Durbar complex,” said the Mayor.
Khanal was concerned that if the monkeys were left unchecked, they would invite serious problems.