[monkeywire] Simian delinquency is booming

gregory nahas lettherebemonkeys at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 22 17:16:04 EDT 2003


Loitering in groups, pestering passers-by, stealing
food - India's urban monkeys have become a menace to

Simian delinquency is booming, fuelled by a steady
rise in the monkey population. 

But in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, the
humans have had enough - and, perhaps literally, the
knives are out. 

Authorities in the region have decided it is high time
the nuisance monkeys are sterilised. 

They have applied to the Environment and Forests
Ministry in Delhi for permission to proceed with a
sterilisation programme. 

A senior wildlife official told the BBC the state's
female monkeys can rest easy - male monkeys will be
the sole targets of the initiative. 

According to the official, tests have shown
sterilisation is far more effective in male primates
than it is in females. 

If given the go-ahead, each of the state's sterilised
monkeys would have a micro-chip implanted in it, to
make sure the same animal was not operated on twice. 

The wildlife official said the cost of sterilising
each monkey would be about 1,750 rupees, or $35. 

An easy life 

That's money well spent, say residents in the hill
resort of Simla, which has had serious monkey problems
of its own. 

One of them told the BBC this was the time for
decisive action, as the state's monkey population was
on course to outnumber its humans. 

Exact figures for the number of monkeys in India are
not available, but they are to be found almost
everywhere in the country. 

The commonest breed is the Rhesus Macaque, a type of
brown monkey that lives to the age of around 17. 

Though denied the protection afforded to the sacred
cow, monkeys nonetheless have an easy life in India. 

Temples are often dedicated to them, in memory of the
Hindu god, Hanuman, himself part-monkey. 

The presence of pilgrims and devotees at these temples
provides the monkeys with a ready source of food - and
to judge by their antics, entertainment. 

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