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Men pose as belligerent apes to scare away monkeys

August 6, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The Indian government is hiring men to dress and act like apes to scare off hundreds of wild monkeys harassing staff around important buildings in New Delhi.

The job could provide memorable employment for working holidaymakers, but it’s no easy task and is probably best left to experts. The ape-men pose as langur monkeys, a large predatory, dark-faced species capable of scaring away macaques, the type of monkeys causing the problem. India Gate

In 2007, when New Delhi’s deputy mayor toppled to his death after being attacked by a gang of wild monkeys, India began to pay serous attention to keeping monkeys and humans at a safe distance. The deputy mayor, Sawinder Singh Bajwa, 52, plunged from the balcony of his house while fighting monkeys with a stick.

Now, 40 fit young people have been hired to dress in ape-suits and disguise themselves as langurs.

If the ape-men fail to do the trick, marksmen armed with rubber bullets may be deployed, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports.

Macaques roam freely around government buildings and over the lawns surrounding India Gate, a great arch and war memorial located on the ‘ceremonial axis’ of New Delhi.

Throughout the city, monkeys have chewed through communications cables and attacked people for food. In India’s unnamed (2)parliament, macaques “occasionally jump in through the windows and pace the corridors of power”, the Telegraph notes.

An article in the New York Times attributes the problem to India’s rapid urbanisation. As Delhi expands, with half a million new residents arriving each year, its green spaces – the monkeys’ habitat at for centuries, shrink.

Monkeys stalk the great monuments of New Delhi, bathing in ceremonial fountains and swinging from the parapets of the president’s palace. Their presence embarrasses dignitaries and amuses distinguished visitors.

The battle to keep monkeys at bay has continued for decades. Devotees of the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman, feel it their duty to feed the monkeys, which adds to the problem. One chief monkey catcher resigned, fed up with being harassed by animal rights advocates.

Finally, an expert tip for travellers confronted by wild monkeys: never look a monkey in the eye and raise your eyebrows – it’s interpreted as a challenge.

If on a balcony, perhaps never raise your eyebrows at all.

Written by : Peter Needham

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