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More Human Casualties in India's Urban War on Monkeys


The latest of India's ongoing monkey attacks has resulted in as many as 25 people being injured in a Delhi slum. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Indian capital.

Police say one woman was critically injured and as many as two dozen other people were hurt, many of them children, when a lone monkey terrorized slum dwellers in an east Delhi neighborhood.

Witnesses told reporters that the monkey tried to drag away some of the children during the attack, which lasted several hours late Saturday and early Sunday.

The capital is home to thousands of rhesus macaque monkeys, creating a growing nuisance in recent years.

The director of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, S.P.S. Ahlawat says the frequency and intensity of attacks is likely the result of people encroaching on simian territory.

"They live in the jungle, not in the cities," said Ahlawat. "So, erratic behavior of the monkeys may be because of displacement from their own habitat."

The fight against the monkeys has become a legal issue. Courts have ordered city authorities to do more to prevent such attacks.

The menace became front-page news again last month when Delhi deputy mayor S.S. Bajwa fell to his death, apparently while trying to fend off a troop of marauding monkeys on his terrace.

Dr. Ahlawat says reinforcements are needed from rural experts.

"There are many people who catch these monkeys," he added. "They are professionals. The professionals should be gi ven a contract for catching hold of these monkeys."

Authorities have hired some monkey catchers and even tried to use langurs, a fiercer monkey the macaques fear, but with little success..

Some devout Hindus feed the city monkeys, believing they are manifestations of the god Hanuman. Some have opposed efforts to catch and relocate the animals.

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