Monkeys damaging apple crop at Anantnag village

The monkeys began damaging the crop since 2016 and initially the farmers took the problem lightly.
A senior wildlife official told Greater Kashmir that the village is located very close to the forest area, which is one of the reasons for the primates to make their way into the habitation.
A senior wildlife official told Greater Kashmir that the village is located very close to the forest area, which is one of the reasons for the primates to make their way into the habitation.Special arrangement

Anantnag: Armed with sticks, the farmers in apple-rich Hutmarah village, some 10 kms from Anantnag town show up in their apple orchards soon after the daybreak to scare away the monkeys. aComprising around 800 households, apple cultivation is the main source of livelihood for the people here.

More or less every household owns some farm land in the area.

The monkeys began damaging the crop since 2016 and initially the farmers took the problem lightly.

However, in 2018, their number significantly ballooned, spurring the farmers to informing the officials of wildlife department to keep the menace at bay.

The officials at that time camped in the village for several days and saved much of their produce. "We have not seen them afterwards", said Ahamd. Besides damaging the crop, the monkeys have now begun entering the residential houses and attacking the inmates.

"Last year, more than 100 monkeys surrounded me in my orchards. I raised an alarm and few farmers working in nearby fields rushed and chased them away", Ahamd said. The villagers have now hired four men who stand guard through the night to protect their crop.

"We pay them Rs 40,000 monthly", said Ahamd. Manzoor Ahmad Salroo, another apple cultivator said that the monkeys had caused a huge damage to the crop over the past several years and some times they were even unable to recoup their input costs.

"Last year even we did not earn enough to pay for the fertilizers and pesticides", he said. A senior wildlife official told Greater Kashmir that the village is located very close to the forest area, which is one of the reasons for the primates to make their way into the habitation.

"The department carries out regular patrols in the village to send them back to the forests", said the official. He added that the household waste also attract the primates towards the village.

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