NewsDelhi wants to tackle the monkey problem

Delhi wants to tackle the monkey problem

Created: 10/23/2022 11:31 am

Indisches Affenproblem
Numerous monkeys live in the Indian capital. © XinHua/dpa

Many people in New Delhi are bothered by monkeys – but at the same time worship them as an embodiment of an important god. The authorities now want to find a solution to the tiresome problem.

New Delhi – Monkeys are everywhere in the Indian capital, New Delhi. The animals run through the streets in groups, jump through open windows into apartments, open refrigerator doors and take food with them. They bathe in water tanks that people have on their roofs or sometimes destroy satellite dishes. They have already stolen corona test blood samples or purses and later thrown banknotes around.

A few years ago, a deputy mayor of the capital died after animals got close to him while reading the newspaper on the terrace, he ran away and fell off the terrace. Monkeys bite people from time to time – including tourists at the famous mausoleum and UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj Mahal – which means that rabies can be transmitted and, if left untreated, this usually ends fatally for humans. Monkeys have also killed human babies – for example by throwing them off a roof or into a water tank.

Monkeys cause controversy

For years, people in the capital have racked their brains over how to reduce conflicts with the monkeys. So far they hadn’t found a really good solution. Animal rights activists see humans as the main cause of the monkey problem: Because they are increasingly taking away the habitat of the monkeys and other animals such as tigers and elephants by building houses there, says Wasim Akram from the organization Wildlife SOS.

In addition, monkeys in cities like Delhi have food security, which allows them to breed more. The monkeys find food in garbage cans and humans feed them again and again of their own accord. Because in India people are not only annoyed by monkeys. They also worship her. Because the Hindu majority of the population worships the monkey god Hanuman and monkeys are considered his descendants, which should not be treated badly.

In order to reduce the potential for monkey-human conflict, the authorities have tried, among other things, to use monkey catchers who catch the animals and resettle them on the outskirts of the city. But even there, the monkeys have caused chaos. A few months ago, the highest court issued a tender for monkey evictors to keep the animals away from the homes of their judges.

How many monkeys actually live in New Delhi?

It is unclear exactly how many monkeys live in the mega-metropolis. Now the authorities want to change that with a monkey count – in order to be able to take more targeted measures, says SN Yadav from the local government in Delhi. It is not yet clear when exactly the count will take place. Financing issues have not yet been clarified, it said. But there are more precise ideas for the count that have been developed with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) under the Ministry of the Environment. For example, facial recognition technology is to be used to avoid counting a monkey twice. Then the main areas of conflict between apes and humans are to be identified and targeted interventions are to be made there.

After the monkey count, some monkeys at the hotspots could be temporarily trapped and sterilized, says Wasim Akram. This is the only scientific way to control the monkey population.

Animal protection organizations and the authorities involved also agree that, in addition to sterilizing monkeys, people in particular should be educated not to feed the animals. Because it is not easy to solve the monkey problem if people worship the animals as monkey god representatives, feed them and thus contribute to the increase in the monkey population. dpa

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