Thursday, April 17, 2008

When Monkeys Attack

Last summer I posted an entry on a rampaging squirrel in Germany. This time it's rampaging monkeys in India. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Monkeys on the rampage in Delhi

It sounds like a bad Hitchcock spoof, but it's no joke: Maurading monkeys are terrorizing Delhi.

Last month the Indian capital's deputy mayor died when he fell from his balcony while trying to fight off four Rhesus macaque monkeys that had ganged up on him. This past week a lone monkey went on a rampage in Shashtri Park, biting and scratching 25 people and trying to grab several infants.

Other monkeys ransacked the apartment of Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of Indian National Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

The stories get wilder and wilder: Monkeys were even blamed for breaking into India's Ministry of Defense office and carting off armfuls of secret files they sprinkled liberally around the government quarter.

"They attack patients who are being rolled inside the hospital, pull out IV tubes and scamper off to drink the fluids," Meera Bhatia, the lawyer charged by the High Court with ensuring the monkeys' removal, told Indian journalists .

The trouble is a result of India's headlong rush into urbanization. The sprawling capital continues to spread outward as half a million new residents arrive each year, gobbling up the surrounding green belt that for centuries has been the monkeys' home. So the monkeys are doing what everyone else in India seems to be doing: An estimated 20,000 of them have moved to the city center.

The Delhi Metro service and some wealthy residences are now hiring private monkey catchers - men who use langurs, a larger, dark-faced monkey, to scare away the smaller wild ones.

Efforts to drive out the animals are complicated by the fact that devout Hindus view them as an incarnation of Hanuman, the monkey god who symbolizes strength. Killing them is unacceptable.

Official embarrassment intensified when a local newspaper reported that the only monkey catcher employed by the city, Nand Lal, who had two decades of experience, had resigned and returned to his village, fed up with being harassed by animal rights advocates.

- Larry Habegger and Chronicle wire services


  1. Those darn monkeys.

    This reminds me, strange enough, of the movie Gettysburg.

    Right before the final battle sceen the top southern commandrs were debating the theory of evolution. (I would like to know if that is factual. Even if not, I it is amazing for me to think that evolution has been debated as far back as the civil war!)

    Anyways, the debate comes to an end when one commander says: "Well, I guarantee General Robert E. Lee does not come from a monkey." Enough said.

  2. I just can't help from thinking that somewhere something went terribly wrong. (That's an interesting way to start a comment that will DEFINITELY be considered politically incorrect)

    I see that there are two problems (perhaps one problem manifesting itself in two ways) but on the one had you have a religion that prevents the people from dealing with the problem and on the other had you have the animal rights activists that are preventing people from dealing with the problem.

    On the one hand we are inclined to say, "Well they have their religion and culture and that is just the way they are. We also have our own idiosyncrasies so we can't really judge them and say they are wrong in protecting monkeys on religious grounds." But at the same time their religion is preventing them from dealing with a simple problem that other people would not have. Personally I think that it is a mark of a false religion or philosophy if it prevents someone or a group of people from being able to handle a simple problem.

    The same goes for animal rights activists. On the one hand I would not want people to mistreat animals or treat them less than a living thing, but if your "respect" for an animal is preventing yourself or others from living then there is a problem. A similar line of reasoning can be given to allow thieves, murderers and rapists to live and work in our society. If there is a problem then it must be removed or dealt with. If your philosophy prevents you from dealing with it then something has gone wrong with your thinking.

    I know this sounds harsh but I've spent the last year dealing with a lot of crazy ideas, where 99.999999% can be fixed if you just change the way you think.


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