Nagpur: Akola Forest Division is now once again in the news for the wrong reasons. This time the dispute is about the illegal possession of more than 40 gray langurs (Semnopithecus) of Karla village of the Alegaon forest range.
As per legal provisions, monkeys are also a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), 1972, and listed under Schedule II of the Act. Section 9 of the WLPA completely prohibits the hunting of Schedule II animals. Also, catching monkeys without the permission of the forest department is completely a crime.
“These langurs were also captured by a group of people from Sillod in Aurangabad district, who considered them a nuisance, at the behest of several local leaders. These monkeys were also residents of the area for years,” Wildlife lover Munna Sheikh says, Akola.
Forest officials fell asleep on Monday after they came to know about the poaching of monkeys, after which the investigation has been started. So far no arrests have been made in any way.
Akola division has been embroiled in several controversies
Speaking to TOI, Akola Deputy Conservator of Forests (DyCF) Arjuna KR has also confirmed the development. “These monkeys have been released in cages without the permission of the forest department. Right now we are probing the matter.”
“On inquiry, I came to know that the villagers had asked the monkey catchers to withdraw from the area. Langurs have also been released in the Ghatbori forest. We are looking into it,” Arjuna said.
Sheikh, who visited the scene, also claimed that the monkeys had breeding families and that many of the children had been left behind. Unusual behavior has been observed in the children of this monkey who were found searching for their mother.
Akola division has been embroiled in several controversies including poor plantation, encroachment, illegal felling of trees, etc.