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Tribesmen to scare away simians in Goa


Panaji : The Goa government has decided to hire members of an indigenous forest tribe, the Wanar Mares, to scare away hordes of simians which have been regularly invading farms and plantations near forested areas.

Forest Minister Felipe Neri Rodrigues told the Goa assembly that the ‘monkey killers’ would be hired on a daily wage basis to scare away the invading monkeys and langurs.

In 2010-2011, the state forest department had recorded 116 complaints on the monkey invasion.

Rodrigues said the department had tried methods like using firecrackers, beating drums and trapping monkeys but the efforts did not pay off.

The forest minister said hiring Wanar Mare tribesmen might just be the way out.

“When Wanar Mares merely pass by, monkey scram from the area. They are scared of people from this tribe,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Laxmikant Parsenkar advised Rodrigues.

The minister assured the house that the Wanar Mare tribesmen would be hired by the forest department and taken to areas where monkey attacks are frequent.

“We will hire them to move in the areas where monkeys attack. Hopefully, they will scare the chimps away,” Rodrigues said.

Generations back, Wanar Mare tribesmen were once skilled archers and were experts in shooting monkeys, who formed a main part of their diet.

According to Goan forest lore, monkeys do not cohabit in areas where these tribesmen live because of an instinctive predatory-prey reflex mechanism.

Clearly, the folklore still exists.