CHITWAN, Nov 1: Increasing incidents of monkeys attacking elders in the old age home at Devghat of Chitwan district have spread havoc among the aged residents. In some cases, the elders living in the Rotary Karunalaya Briddha Ashram have had to be admitted to hospital.
Recalling a recent attack, 77 years old Basundhara Chaulagain shared a dangerous encounter she had with a monkey.
“A monkey out of blue pounced on me while I was preparing for my morning prayers." Chaulagain said. "It was stubborn and I could not free myself from its grasp. Thanks to the others who rushed to help me and scared it away. They enter our house in gangs and destroy everything and even attack us if we try to stop them,” she added.
Uma Devi Khanal, who is 90 years old, said there has been a significant rise in the number of monkeys in the Devghat area over the years. Khanal attributed the sudden rise in monkeys´ population in Devghat to the release of two trucks full of monkeys near Devghat seven years ago. “I myself saw monkeys being unloaded in Aaptari that day. They must have been brought from Pasupatinath area in Kathmandu,” said Khanal.
Ashiwan Kumar Sapkota, who has been living in the old age home for a decade now, also shared living under the fear of monkeys. “The threat of monkey attack is always there. It could happen during the lunch time or in the middle of night when we are asleep,” said Sapkota. “Living here will be impossible if these attacks are not controlled sooner,” he added.
Not only elders, even the locals and businessmen in the area have been attacked by monkeys. “Devotees, who gather here during various rituals, too have been victims of such attacks” complained Buddhi Neupane, a local.
Upendra Rijal, chairman of the old age home, shared his deep concern about the situation. “These elders are feeble and they won´t have peace if these animals are not shifted far from this area,” he said. “It would be great if they are gathered and shifted to Chitwan National Park.”
According to Khem Bhandari, chief of Devghat Regional Development Committee, the recurrent monkey-attacks have increased with the rise in their population. “If they don´t find enough food, they raid our homes. The forests in Devghat are small for their extended population,” said Bhandari.