Islamabad Citizens Warned Not to Feed Monkeys

In August 2022, the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) warned the citizens to avoid feeding wild monkeys in the Margalla Hills National Park to prevent any attack or conflict with the wild animal.

The Board earlier had placed a cage to capture the wayward wild alpha monkey that attacked a family in a house sector F-7 of the federal capital.

The sector F-7 due to its close vicinity to the Margalla Hills National Park has maximum visits of wild monkeys roaming into houses as the people despite many exhortations feed the wild animal which spoils the behaviour and habits of monkeys to rely on human food.

The house that had been attacked by the male wild monkey had a nullah or drain passing by its backyard and it also had a kitchen garden with fresh vegetables that used to tempt the monkey. Serious injuries were incurred by a man after he provoked the alpha male monkey through attacks with a wiper.

The alpha monkey is physically agile and bears the maximum strength of being a troop leader and appears to be ferocious due to its conduct that scares humans as the animal is going to attack which is not the case until the animal is threatened or intimidated.

The IWMB official informed that the man attacked the monkey to scare it and once a problematic animal was frightened it attacked in retaliation.

He said once the monkey was caught then it would be decided either to shift it to a rescue centre for the time being or to be released in its natural habitat.

The IWMB scientific committee was also working to work out a strategy to control the monkeys venturing into the city and a meeting was convened in this regard as well.

Human empathy and affection towards animals and wildlife species could be harmful as human food may cause diseases or damage their health due to its unhealthy nature for animals.

The scenic Islamabad is close to a living ecosystem of thriving Asian Leopards and foothills of the Himalayan Mountain range has reported various incidents of human-wildlife conflict as abundant wildlife species live in the National Park.

He added that the Forest Guards of the Board were repeatedly exhorting the masses to avoid feeding boiled corn or other eatables to monkeys and other animals found in the national park.

“There have been many instances of human-wildlife conflict in the National Park when the monkeys attacked visitors for not feeding food.

This is the ultimate consequence that needs to be prevented”, he added.

The IWMB official mentioned that there was no need for humans to feed monkeys or other wildlife species as they have plenty of prey or food available in their natural ecosystem.

Human intervention damaged this cycle and forced the animals to rely on their feeding and deviating them from their natural system which was damaged, he added.

He informed that the people visiting Faisal Mosque love to watch spotted deers and zebras in the enclosures on the way to the mosque.

They used to feed buns, biscuits, popcorn, or other eatables to these animals which left a serious impact on the animal health, he added.

The Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Massachusetts, USA claimed that it was encouraging the masses to take an interest and appreciate wildlife but feeding wild animals could lead to injury or disease for the animal.

“People’s food isn’t good for animals. Human foods aren’t nutritious enough for animals and may cause serious health problems. A deformity called ‘angel wing’ is commonly found in ducks, geese, swans, and other waterfowl who are fed white bread, popcorn, crackers, or other people’s food”, it said.

The clinic on its website underlined a pertinent issue stating that feeding humans food made the wild animals lose their natural fear of people.

“Feeding can make large, potentially dangerous animals become too comfortable in residential or recreational areas. Once animals learn they can panhandle for food, they can become a nuisance or even worse, a safety risk,” it said.

It added that feeding wild animals from running vehicles or near vehicles was also dangerous as it could collectively harm animals, people, and property.

The IWMB in its Twitter official handle encouraged the masses to report in case of any complaints and rescue regarding wildlife on the following contacts: 0309-530 2425.

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