THE MONKEY REFUGEES of KARNALA
Situated on the fringes of Navi Mumbai, is a huge patch of pristine forest - The Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
WHAT IS HAPPENING
The towering trees and densely wooded undergrowth provide protection to over 230 species of birds and small mammals like the Bonnet and Rhesus Macaques. But a huge patch of this forest land has been cleared for expanding the National Highway which has severely impacted the Bonnet and Rhesus Macaques.
In 2016, the National Highway which bifurcates the park into two halves was taken up for expansion. Thousands of trees were chopped down, rendering the Macaque troops living on the fringes, homeless.
They were forced to turn to begging and stealing from the tourists. Once living on insects and leaves, they now feed on fast food. The change in diet has made them unhealthy. Instead of playing on canopies, baby macaques play on steel rods laid down for road expansion.
This unhealthy proximity to speeding vehicles has resulted in hundreds becoming victims of road kills. After lobbying, the government recognised the impact on wildlife and has now constructed rope bridges for the macaques to cross the road as well as erected huge barriers which prevent them from approaching the highway altogether. All's well that ends well !