Tailed ancestors, Tailless descendants

The term tail, for the sake of this column, is to be understand as the hindmost part of an animal, especially that forming a distinct, flexible appendage to the trunk. The intent is to take up the case of simians (excluding apes which don’t have the appendage) juxtaposed with homosapiens (modern humans) in the context of a report in a widely read daily early this week under a multi-column heading “Forest Department to sterilise urban monkeys.” Further, the hangline to the report, namely “The move comes at a time when several localities are dealing with the increasing menace of the primates.” The report relating to the matter originates in the State’s capital, Bengaluru. The plight of the residents of the already overcrowded metropolis, with an estimated headcount on the cusp of 15 million and counting, which is their own creation and feeling battered by the tailed ancestors triggers many thoughts about the two distinct forms of life — monkeys and humans. Going by the accepted evolution theory, monkeys have inhabited the Planet Earth for an undetermined much longer period than humans. On this one count, the accusing finger of encroaching someone’s territory cannot be pointed at our revered ancestors, who have favoured taking residence on tree tops and certainly not urban spaces.

Humans, in pursuit of their joy by indiscriminate consumption of natural resources, including the green cover provided by trees, have shamed themselves through openly robbing the gifts of nature that rightfully belonged to the primates, their different types numbering 260 globally. Keeping them in the cages of Zoos for the amusement of people is a brazen disrespect of ancestors by their descendants.

Unlike the wily humans having many agendas in life that include the set of despicable selfishness, monkeys are not only very social creatures, fun-loving with the main agenda of assuaging hunger without avarice. They are also known to be monogamous and devoted in caring for their young ones. The charge of monkey menace being intended in the Bengaluru-based report mentioned above is grossly unfair because monkeys mind their own business unless provoked. The talk of human-animal conflict that we are reading about nowadays has apparently loaded the speechless species with the bad-boy badge.

Mysuru’s residents raised their voice in the recent past against pigs, dogs and also cattle straying on the roads of the city, to which the civic authorities responded by sterilising the canines. Now, it is the turn of their Bengaluru counterparts to sterilise the monkeys in that city.Lastly, if monkeys were in charge of administration, you know who deserves to be sterilised. Any day, monkeys know better how not to ruin their living spaces.

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