Residents in and around Ambalangoda are plagued by the monkey menace. Monkeys have destroyed garden cultivation in several wards in our town.
Most residents like to grow fruit trees such as rambutan, bananas, sapodilla, papaya, passion fruit, guava, mango, avocado, as well as coconut, arecanut and jak.
The monkeys invade the gardens during the fruit-bearing season, doing immense damage to the crops, much to the annoyance of the residents who have taken great trouble to nurture these trees. Many residents have taken up home gardening at the urging of the Agriculture Department and to fall in line with “Api Wawamu, Rata Nagamu” concept.
They spend a fair sum of money on fertiliser and a lot of time caring for the fruit trees. Organic and inorganic fertiliser can be quite expensive in the open market.
The invading monkeys do not spare any edible fruit in our home gardens. In the town, these creatures jump from roof to roof, and in the process break roof tiles.
They also perform acrobatics along the electric mains and telecom cables, to the amusement of the residents. They are not frightened by fire-crackers. In fact, they are now quite accustomed to the sound of crackers.
The monkeys do not spare the flowers of the arecanut and coconut trees when fruits are out of season. They two trees are of great economic value.
The residents have highlighted the monkey problem repeatedly in the print media, but the authorities have taken no action.
We hope the Galle District Agricultural Committee will move in and get the Wildlife Department to take action. These animals should be caught in wire-mesh cages and transferred to the jungle, such as the Sinharaja, where they can live in comfort, undisturbed by humans and surrounded by plenty of food.