Sagar (MP): Simian menace is a cause of trouble for most people, but some villagers in backward Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh have turned it into an opportunity to earn money by becoming trained monkey catchers.

Seven members of Nouradehi forest division's Mohali range eco-development committee in Hanouta village have so far caught 169 monkeys and released them into the wild, where ample natural food is available for them.

These experts charge Rs 1,000 per monkey, besides allowance for travelling to reach the place where people face the menace. They have earned Rs 1.69 lakh so far.

"Initially, we started catching monkeys creating trouble for people just like that and used to release them in the wild as a service to these animals who venture into urban areas in large numbers due to fast depleting forests," a committee member, Suraj Singh Thakur, said.

Later, forest officials formed an eco-development committee by including seven members in it and trained them further in the art of catching monkeys.

The committee has so far caught 82 black face monkeys and 97 red faced ones. A total of 98 monkeys were caught from Sagar, 70 from Jabalpur and one from Rawatpura area, Thakur said.

"This is the only trained group for catching monkeys in the state and the Principal Chief Conservator Forest (Wildlife) has also given recognition to the group under the Wildlife Protection Act," Sagar division chief conservator of forests (CCF) Ajit Srivastava said.

The committee has also developed its website which enlists details of their activities and contact numbers so that people can approach them, and in the process send the simians back to the forests.

(Agencies)

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