Trongsa 1 Monkey 0 in the fight against the monkey menace

Trongsa Thromde, has long grappled with a persistent challenge – the troubling presence of raiding macaques. However, recent collaborative efforts headed by dzongkhag officials have indicated a turning point in the town’s ongoing battle against the monkey menace.

As residents breathe a collective sigh of relief, the journey towards reclaiming their calmness unfolds against the backdrop of strategic interventions and community unity.

Reflecting on the town’s prolonged struggle, an official from the Trongsa Dzongkhag Administration shed light on the historical backdrop of the issue.

An official from the Dzongkhag Administration said, “For nearly two decades, Trongsa has contended with the intrusion of monkeys into human territory. While the problem persists, the notable reduction in monkey numbers signifies progress.”

Central to this transformative shift is a concerted effort to severe the monkeys access to food sources, a tactic marked by consistency.

“In the past, misguided acts of compassion perpetuated the problem, with humans unwittingly sustaining the monkey’s presence. Through stakeholder collaboration and a steadfast commitment to cease feeding them, we have witnessed a tangible retreat in monkey activity,” said the official.

Delving deeper into the rationale of the strategy, emphasis is placed on understanding the intricate behavioral dynamics at play.

The official said, “For generations of human interaction have shaped the monkey’s behavior, leading to their reliance on human settlements for sustenance and safety. By disrupting this pattern through targeted food source intervention, we are reclaiming core town areas from monkey intrusion.”

A pivotal long-term solution on the horizon involves the relocation of the landfill site in Chunjhupang, a move aimed at mitigating the monkey’s reliance on human-generated waste.

The official said, “Addressing the root cause of the problem is paramount for sustainable resolution. While initial results are promising, ongoing vigilance and community support remain indispensable.”

Echoing sentiments of cautious optimism, members of the community attest to the visible impact of these concerted efforts. Kuenzang, a resident, reflected on the shift in atmosphere. He said, “Previously, the specter of monkey attacks loomed large, casting a shadow of fear over our daily lives. With the implementation of proactive measures, there’s a sense of hope that the situation will continue to improve.”

In the past, the primary territory for the monkeys in Trongsa was concentrated within the municipal and Dzong areas, drawn by the availability of religious waste and leftovers, exacerbated by poor waste management practices.

However, significant improvements have been observed, particularly in the handling of religious waste within the Dzong. Monks now ensure proper disposal by wrapping up waste and sending it out to villages after its use, reducing the attraction for monkeys.

In response to these changes, officials note that while some monkeys have exhibited aggressive behavior, efforts to discourage them have been consistently applied. Relocation efforts have been halted temporarily due to the challenges associated with capturing and relocating the monkeys.

Before the implementation of current strategies, Trongsa witnessed a significant presence of monkeys, with six to seven troops comprising thirty to forty monkeys each, totaling up to 300 to 400 monkeys throughout the year. Presently, officials and respondents report a notable decline in troop numbers, with only one to two troops observed at times.

However, challenges persist, with occasional displays of aggression from the monkeys necessitating continued caution.

The official said, “While instances of aggression have decreased, irregular incidents serve as a reminder of the ongoing nature of the conflict. Efforts to relocate the monkeys are temporarily halted due to logistical constraints, but plans for a comprehensive behavioral study are underway.”

Amidst the evolving landscape, signs of progress extend beyond mere mitigation efforts, with the town witnessing a tangible transformation.

The official said, “Areas once overrun by monkeys are undergoing a revitalization, marked by beautification initiatives and renewed economic activity. The town’s newfound cleanliness reflects a collective commitment to reclaiming our public spaces.”

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