RAIPUR: Sixteen monkeys were found dead under mysterious circumstances near a borewell in Rajnandgaon district. Wildlife enthusiasts have alleged that incidents of mass killing for trading of monkeys have been reported earlier and the latest incident might be the recurrence of it.

Forest department has sent the sample of water and remains of animals to a lab, yet there were reports that few farmers upset with crop damage by monkeys had mixed poison in water for them to consume, leading to monkeys’

The villagers alerted police and forest department alleging that the animals were poisoned. The forest department team rushed to the spot and collected the carcases to send them for autopsy. Few remains were also sent to the veterinary lab in Jabalpur along with sample of water, officials said adding that they have launched a probe and would reveals other details once the reports are received.

According to local villagers, they were alleging few group of farmers who often used to complain about crop damage caused by group of monkeys leading to loss of other resources as well. The locals said that the hand pump was not functional for past three months and as part of conspiracy, water was poured near the floor of hand pump, the exit way was blocked with mud so that the water stays and poison was mixed in the water.

When the monkeys came in search of water near the hand pump, they drank the poisonous water which choked them to death.

Meanwhile, veteran wildlife enthusiast and president of Chhattisgarh Wildlife Society, AMK Bharos, told TOI that incidents of monkey meat trading has been reported few years back from Rajnandgaon district which came under control after newspapers highlighted the issue.