Hordes of rhesus monkeys are besieging New Delhi, teaming up to shake down shoppers for their groceries, and worse:
In 2007, a Delhi deputy mayor died when he fell from his terrace after being attacked by monkeys, a widely publicized episode that spurred the city to step up its efforts to move monkeys to safer environments. Yet such attacks continue. This month a 14-year-old girl was seriously injured when she fell from the roof of a five-story residential building after monkeys pursued her.
“Monkeys do commonly bite people, and their bite wounds can be extensive,” Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., wrote in an e-mail. “They are smart enough to often attack the face of the person.” [NYT]
Some harried residents fork over $200 a month to a langur handler who brings these larger, scarier monkeys around to urinate on clients' property. As long as the stench of langur urine hangs in the air, the smaller monkeys scatter. It's hard to know if this approach is sustainable, though. The rhesus monkeys have already learned to avoid traps over the years. What happens when they figure out that the leashed langurs aren't dangerous after all? Are we looking at a primate arms race?