Shimla: Responding to the plight of locals and farmers, the Environment Ministry has declared the Rhesus Macaques monkey "vermin" in Himachal Pradesh for a period of one year, allowing their culling to control their population.
The notification issued last month said that the state has reported damage to life and property including large scale destruction of agriculture by this species in areas outside forest.
Vermin means wild animals which are believed to be harmful to crops, farm animals, game or which carry diseases.
It said the government has "considered it necessary" to mitigate the damage to human life, crops and properties for ensuring conservation of wildlife in forest.
The decision has not gone down well with Union Minister Maneka Gandhi who on Thursday said there was "lust" for killing in the Environment Ministry but Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar defended it, saying the step was taken as per law on request of the Himachal Government.
Animal right activist Gaurika Maulekhi told NDTV, "Himachal has a monkey conflict there is no doubt about that but the reasons are habitat loss, mining, encroachment those have not been addressed at all."
But locals and farmers suffer a lot. Deepa Sharma a farmer in Mashobra said, "These are my apples which haven't even grown yet. But monkeys will come and destroy them, sometimes they come in a group of 50 and specially during the rainy season. It's our livelihood, why wouldn't we kill them?"