There are two types of monkeys in India and they are protected by law since a great majority of the country’s population is Hindu and believe in the interconnectedness of all life.
There are the Langurs, the bigger monkey of the two. They have grey white bodies and black faces and seem to be the gentler group. Although, I approached one and he bared his teeth at me. But when you think about it, a rare and strange American tourist might be a little unnerving to a poor creature that had never seen one before.
Some Indians workshop Hanuman, the half man, half monkey god and feel that it is good karma to feed the monkeys. This really adds to the proliferation of these primates.
The real villains of this story are the Rhesus Macaques, smaller creatures with brown fur.
Don’t be taken in by their cuteness. They break into houses, steal food, bathe in water supplies, terrorize the natives and tourists, and the braver ones bite. They are capable of transmitting rabies and a fatal type of herpes but this is very rare. However, a bite wound from a Rhesus almost always becomes infected. And in 2007, the Deputy Major of Delhi fell off the balcony of his home and died when a gang of monkeys attacked him.
Over the years, many attempts have been made to stop the monkey problem. Langurs were used by monkey chasers to scare the Rhesus away but a animal rights group stopped this saying it was cruel to use the gray monkeys in this way. Now the monkey chasers use slingshots to ineffectively pursue offenders. The government is looking into some kind of contraceptive program but right now the monkeys of India seem to rule.
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