Maneka intervenes to save langur but too late for the animal
NAGPUR: The state forest department may go all out to rescue and treat injured tigers but it is much less keen when it comes to lesser fauna like monkeys. So much so that environmentalist and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi had to call up state's principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) SWH Naqvi to save a rescued langur. The animal later died to due to negligence.
While tigers are listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, monkeys (common langurs) are listed under Schedule II and hence are property of the forest department. On Thursday evening, a full-grown female langur had suffered injuries to its left palm due to electric current after it touched a live wire while jumping on a mango tree in Somalwada area.
Eyewitness and animal lover Anup Thakur said the shock was so severe that the langur, along with its baby tied to her, fell down and could not move. Other langurs in the troop picked up the baby monkey but the mother could not move due to injuries.
"I saw the small baby trying to pull its mother but it couldn't. Even as other monkeys climbed up the tree with the baby, I called up People for Animals (PFA) activist Karishma Galani," Thakur said. Thakur knew Galani as he had called her up earlier to rescue a stray dog.
Galani reached the spot with an animal rescue van of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and took the injured monkey to veterinarian Dr Rajendra Mahajan in Dhantoli, who treated the animal.
On Friday morning, Galani took the monkey to veterinary polyclinic near Alankar talkies where Dr M S Dhakate treated it. As the monkey was in shock, strong treatment could not be given.
At 1pm, Galani brought the langur to Deer Park at Seminary Hills where other monkeys rescued by her are kept. She talked to range forest officer (RFO) Deepak Nandanwar but he was rude. Galani alleged that Nandanwar was reluctant to accept the monkey unless he received a call from deputy conservator of forests (DyCF) P K Mahajan.
"Nandanwar told me that he did not want to make Seminary Hills a zoo," Galani told TOI. She later called up all the senior forest officials including principal secretary (forests) but did not get response as all said they were busy in meetings.
Frustrated, Galani took up the matter with Maneka Gandhi. The BJP leader and MP from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh called up Naqvi and within minutes forest guard Kishore Kadwe reached the Deer Park to accept the monkey.
"It was 4pm when Kadwe arrived. The monkey was stranded in blistering heat for nearly three hours," said Galani. Maneka later confirmed to TOI that she had called up Naqvi. "It's unfortunate. The forest department should have accepted the injured animal right away," she said.
Naqvi said he instructed the staff to accept the animals after Maneka's call. "I have warned the RFO concerned for his improper approach. We will release the rescued monkeys at Seminary Hills during monsoon," Naqvi said.
However, when wildlife vet Dr Bahar Bawiskar went to treat the monkey in the evening, it had died.