Vijayawada, July 28 (IANS) A troop of caged monkeys have been rescued and set free by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department.
The monkeys were being kept in a cage on the premises of the office of the local Directorate of Medical Education (DME) office, apparently for weeks without food and water.
Following a complaint from a concerned citizen, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India had urged Vijayawada forest department officials to rescue the monkeys. The forest department swung into action and rescued the monkeys on Wednesday.
The complainant alleged that the monkeys who were captured, supposedly merely for being on DME premises, were so traumatised that they had started to self-mutilate and harm each other. The forest department rescued the monkeys within an hour of the complaint and released them in the nearby forest after a medical check-up. Capturing monkeys is a gross violation of sections 9, 39, and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (WPA).
"It's important that smart, social monkeys be reunited with their friends and families in nature and that people do not take conflicts with wild animals into their own hands," said PETA India Emergency Response Manager Deepak Chaudhary.
"PETA India encourages all kind people to discourage monkeys simply by keeping windows, grills, and garbage bins closed and to contact the local forest department if they need more help."
PETA India's representative said that exploiting monkeys for profit and keeping them in captivity are morally wrong and punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine of up to Rs 25,000, or both, under the Wildlife Protection Act.
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