Monkeys at Margalla Hills facing shortage of food during lock down

By Asghar Ali Mubarak

ISLAMABAD: HundredS of monkeys, stray cats and dogs aLONG other wild animals at Margalla Hills depend on food given by the visitors. Many who feed animals regularly have stopped going there due to the Section 144 imposed throughout in the capital city Islamabad.
From the past one week no visiter has been allowed to enter in the forest and walking tracks of Margalla Hills. Many animals have thus become sick due the shortage of food.
The novel coronavirus – which originated in the central China city of Wuhan towards in the last week of December 2019 – has spread to all continents excluding Antarctica.
The COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the mysterious contagion has so far killed thousands of people and infected tens of thousands of others across the globe.

It was always refreshing and exciting to visit the lush green Margalla Hills. And, of course, the presence of monkeys, birds and other animals on trees on both sides of the zigzagging road leading to Daman-e-Koh and Pir Sohawa adds to this feeling. It was lovely to watch them in full action in complete freedom on Margalla Hills in the open.
The free monkeys are spotted after just crossing the zoo premises on way up to the two hilly resorts. The cute monkeys have developed a sort of habit to come closer to the road and ‘mix up’ with people for, some of them, offer banana, apple or a piece of bread; food to them.
It was learnt that they usually appear closer to the road during peak hours of human activity and go back to dense bush after having their share of food.
Some of them even come on to the road, risking their life. The Margalla Hills’s monkeys no doubt, are a big attraction for all.
They have become social over the years with humanbeings to a certain extent. It was a good bond developing between people and monkeys. Most of these animals are no more that wild animals.
They appear domesticated. They were not afraid of humanbeings. Therefore, they feel free to come down from Margalla hills. However, due to the lock down in Islamabad, these monkeys are badly affected because of no visitor allowed to enter Margalla hills area.