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Monkey business disrupts J&K life

Apr 23, 2007 11:46 AM IST India India

Srinagar: Anxious and excited residents of Sringar are trying to catch a glimpse of a baboon, an animal that many say they haven't seen before. But it soon turns into bit of a chase - the baboon climbs up a tree, while the locals wait for it below.

The baboon first appeared in the heart of city at Lal Chowk a few days ago scaring residents away. It's now being noticed in other parts. But with the residents not knowing how to deal with wild animals, the baboon's life might be in danger.

Says a resident of Srinagar, Saifullah, "I think things have turned quite wild here in Kashmir because first it was the bear, then they killed the leopard then they were chasing the owls and now it was the monkey who was fearing for his life. I think they should do something about animals here. He was struck on the tree and people were trying to kill him."

The Valley hasn't been too animal friendly in the past few months. Recently a bear was burnt alive and a leopard lynched by villagers after it strayed into a village.

Then came the frantic owl-hunt where some residents began to catch owls for a mysterious buyer. And now it's this baboon. The government says it is aware of the animal on the loose.

Says J&K Forest Minister, Qazi Afzal, " For the children of Srinagar this is a wonder. They are scared and try to shoo away the baboon by pelting stones. It is out of its habitat and hence difficult to control."

It is true that the Valley's seen some dangerous attacks from leopards and bears in the past few months. As many as 12 people were killed by wild animals last year.

It's time the administration took measures to keep both the people and the animals safe.