Studies why you should not interfere!
There are no ignoring monkeys, no matter how you feel about them! For some, they are our godly ancestors; for others, they are mischievous thieves raiding our kitchens, stealing our food, and just monkeying around. Due to massive deforestation and diminishing natural food resources, our interactions with monkeys are more frequent now than ever before.
Why do we search for feeding monkey?
In such situations, do we influence one another’s behavior or the environment? How, if so? These questions have been addressed by researchers at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS).
Researchers at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal studied a group of rhesus macaques — monkeys commonly found in India and Asia. They investigated not only how human-provided food affects macaques, but also how humans are affected by macaque behavior.
” The researchers point out the monkeys’ diets consist of bananas, biscuits, cakes, and cookies from nearby tea stalls, and from moving vehicles. Thanks, to this, almost 27 percent of the monkeys’ diet is now made up of provided food. “Human food products are calorie rich and an easily digestible food source for macaques,” said Dr. Sengupta.”However, these foods can cause hormone imbalances, raise stress levels, increase inter group aggression, and change reproductive cycles.”
The act of feeding wild animals is illegal in India. However, the researchers found that many visitors to the park feed the monkeys anyway.
Visitors afraid to feed the monkey
Some visitors claim that they feed the monkeys because they feel sorry for them, others say that they do it because they think that the monkeys are cute, and yet others say that they do so because they are afraid of the monkeys.
Most of the visitors admit that they know that feeding wild animals is against the law, but they continue to do so nonetheless. One reason that visitors may ignore the law is that they believe that feeding the monkeys will make them behave better.
Feeding Monkey is not so bad if you’re so kind
Another reason is that they may feel guilty if they stop feeding the monkeys. Yet another reason is that they may think that they can control the monkeys’ behavior.
A final reason is that they may simply not realize that the monkeys are wild animals.
Although the researchers interviewed 86 visitors to the park, only 60 of those admitted to feeding the monkeys. Of those 60 visitors, 27 percent said that they did so for religious purposes, 11 percent said that they did it because they cared for the monkeys, and 62 percent said that they fed the monkeys because they felt sorry for them or feared them.
Thus, monkey behavior prompted humans to feed the monkeys! The researchers also surveyed residents of Buxa Tiger Reserve to see how they interact with the monkeys.
They found that the local community was aware of the dangers of feeding the monkeys. In a survey that they carried out, 69 percent of the locals knew that eating wild animals was illegal, and 31 percent said that feeding monkeys would lead them to raid their homes for food.
About 72 percent of the residents said that they do not feed monkeys because this encourages them to raid their houses.
Another problem with increased human-monkey interaction was the higher risk of disease transfer between the two species.
Since the monkeys spend more time around the roads, they are more likely to be hit by passing cars. Because visitors often feed the monkeys for religious reasons, the law is unlikely ever to solve the problem. To help these monkeys, the researchers suggest involving local communities in educating visitors about the impact of feeding these primates.
So, the next time that you feel like feeding wild creatures, don’t! You might just end up encouraging them to steal your food.