By Bishwanath Rijal
Shankar Prasad Acharya who lives near Bhandarkhal jungle in Pashupati Developmental Area remembers his 20-30 years past living experiences and says, it was the day when people used to sit, take rest, keep peanut, orange, dry fruit, and stay for sun bath around their house and floor but there were no harm and trouble from monkeys. But now it is totally different, these days monkeys comes to the door even in the room and people get much terrified to the monkeys. He further mentioned that he was attacked and bitten several times therefore, he has vaccinated antibodies vaccine. Previously, it was the green forest and monkeys lived with enjoying in very pleasure environment. We were much fascinated to see the presence of different kind of birds. But, nowadays we need to stay as a guard in our own home. Some locals have given resentment letter to the Pashupati Development Office to control the monkeys’ harm. I come to know that some locals have even made a formal accusation to the high court to control monkeys’ terror.
Babu Lal Shah a vegetable vendor who sells vegetable in Kathmandu, much interested to feed fruit to the monkey twice or thrice in a month according to the season from last six years. He feeds carrot, apple, banana and other different fruits to the monkey. He further mentioned with his sorrowful expression that this year monkeys are suffering from disease and not having fruit or vegetables with full attention provided by him. He further added that the number of monkeys are decreasing and dying day by day. Similarly, Babu Kaaji Basnet who has well-known monkeys’ life from his close eyes and had vivid lived experiences of monkeys’ livelihood says that these days monkeys are suffering from different diseases. According to Basnet, he saw blood in monkeys’ urine infected and dying. Due to the monkeys’ death the surrounding environment is so dirty and mostly bad smells comes everywhere. He further mentioned that these all things happening due to the lack of human awareness and so on. He further expressed with his sorrows that after destroying the green beauty of Bhandarkhal Jungle, it has not only affected to monkey’s life but also the nest of birds and overtly affected to their livelihood too. He further added that messily feeding to them in improper time and malnutrition flour made sedate and negative effect in their health to those innocent birds and monkeys’. Basnet said, “When fruits and vegetables become rancid/dirty or get low price in the market then there is competition to feed in this area at once nearly 300kg a day”. In the same way, nobody has given attention that they lost their habitat and compelled to drink dirty water, eat waste food, fruit and even bath in polluted water. Basnet raised one interesting matter that there were good inter-relationship between dog and monkey. Perhaps, their mutual cooperative relation has not been seen outside. The image of lactating bitch where baby monkey sucks to them made quip to the people around. People run after biased and selfish thoughts by wrapping on their shoulder but never try to see the two living hood played together, loved together and tried for their sexual desire. This may probably become the surprising matter but during research the rare scene is captured by the author.
Ramesh Shreasth, a local from Pashupati area becomes happy to see the parental care and socialization behavior of monkeys and he focused this area will be a destination place for research and to observe the behavior of monkey. He further added that only translocated monkey creating trouble in this area, as they have different habit and could not adjust in new environment. During the conversation he said that approximately 12 years ago a troop of monkey had taken control of one house as a habitat at Jayabageshwori which was evacuated later with the help of police administration. Lack of natural food, habitat loss, polluted drinking water, pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables has made extreme effect in their livelihood and has made change in their living-hood and due to this there is a problematic situation said (in condition of not to reveal name) one personnel from Pashupati Development Fund. Previously their breeding activities seen only in a beginning of winter season but nowadays it seems at any time. He further cleared that the some monkeys in that area had minimum 2-3 babies, got early pregnancy, and involved in sexual activities immediate after pregnancy.
Ganesh Mainali and Shyam Krishna Bhattarai expressed that they have been providing readymade food to the monkey from last thirty years. Further he mentioned that there is lack of natural foods in jungle where they are getting support from the donor and feeding and caring to the messenger of God Ram. Shyam Krishna Bhattrai of early seventies is much familiar to the behavioral activities of Monkey. “Some of their activities are the source of inspiration for the human beings”, Bhattrai said. The way of expressing condolence or sympathy after death of the monkey is really kind and emotional. He remembered a live image of lord Shiva that how he carried the dead body of Satidevi even after her death. In the same way, monkeys carry the dead body of monkey and walk with hanging until and unless it falls down or finished. He further mentioned one amazing facts that he was attacked and bitten several times but he didn’t use any medicine or anti rabies vaccine. Both of them, who has a deep love to the monkeys, says with his sadness that this problematic situation is occurred due to the human beings. Some of the people come there in morning time with their domestic dog and made them tease and attack over the monkey which causes monkey more aggressive is the actual fact, he said. Mainali further grumbled that some of the people tease and hit with stick, slingshot what made monkey more aggressive and to changing their behavior too. It is obvious that despite of Pashupati Development Area has been listed in world heritage, but there are obstacles and many more problems to live quality of life due to deforestation inside the area, construction of concrete road in artificial way, pollution of Bagmati River and lack of safe and pure drinking water. The other major problematic thing is that monkeys depend on artificial or readymade food instead of natural food, not showing any serious interest on food whether the food is nutritional or not, whether the fruit and food is without use of insecticide/pesticide. Similarly, not taking proper care of food quality and quantity provided by any donor, not well management of rubbish material after any occasion/festival, override to the monkeys life, made to attack domestic, pet dogs, chasing with stick & slingshot, at the name of controlling monkeys; using electric fence and abandoned monkeys from other part has created a difficult situation. Similarly, due to the access in irregular high protein or poisonous food materials made hormonal changes which results in irregular reproductive system and health problem. Moreover, there has been more constraint in their residence after the earthquake. Improper management of dead and sick monkeys made both negative impression and affect in attraction of world heritage site. It is all due to the attitude and human behavior, therefore to be a supreme of being human need to think, aware and support to save this heritage site.
Monkeys’ trouble in Pashupati Area
By Bishwanath Rijal