Menace: Villagers of Chendebji and Nyala in Trongsa are asking travellers along the east-west highway to stop feeding the monkeys.

The villagers say that feeding the monkeys is adversely affecting the two villages.

Nyala Tshogpa Passang Dorji said that once the monkeys get the taste of food, it starts relying on the food from the travellers and start attacking humans.

Monkey menace has become so severe that the villagers had to stop cultivation of maize and vegetables.

“It has been two years we stopped growing potato because monkeys spared nothing in the fields,” Passang Dorji said. The monkeys have now started eating cabbage, beans, onions and even chillies.

“Because travellers feed the monkeys, the monkeys have stopped foraging in the forest. They wait by the roadsides for food,” said Phub Lham, a villager.

Tshogpa Tandin Tshering said that monkeys were a problem even before. But the problem heightened after 2012.

“The matters became worse when the travellers started feeding the monkeys by the roadsides,” Tandin Tshering said. The monkeys have now become tough and dangerous.

“They have become used to seeing humans and don’t budge when we try to chase them away,” Tandin Tshering said.

Tangsibji Gup Jigme Namgyal said the presence of monkeys by the highway is posing risk for the villagers.

“There have been reports of villagers intimidated by groups of monkeys in Bhangla Pokto,” Jigme Namgyal said. They attack women and children most of the time.

“A woman was attacked in Chendebji inside the car from a half open window,” Phub Lham. The woman got away with some scratches.

According to a senior forestry official from Trongsa, feeding wild animals is dangerous. “Feeding the wild animals disturbs the food chain. The other problem is that monkeys will be drawn closer to human settlement, which will result in loss of more crops.”

Tshogpas suggested putting up signboards asking the travellers to refrain from feeding the monkey.

“And we should penalise those who feed the monkeys,” Passang Dorji said.

Tempa Wangdi, Trongsa