Posted on October 20, 2006

Delhi Monkeys Face Forest Future

BBC News (Delhi), Sanjoy Majumder, Oct. 11, 2006

India’s Supreme Court has ordered 300 monkeys captured from the streets of Delhi to be transferred to forests in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

Thousands of monkeys roam the capital, mostly around government offices, and are considered a public nuisance.

They have terrorised bureaucrats and in one instance even ripped up top secret defence documents.

But the monkeys are viewed as sacred by India’s Hindus, who often feed them, encouraging them to remain.

Snatching food

Delhi’s large population of stray monkeys has been a long-standing problem.

They are also a public menace in many residential neighbourhoods, where they snatch food from unsuspecting people, including children.

The fact that most Hindus view the monkeys as sacred has made it even harder for the authorities to get rid of the animals.

Now the Supreme Court has ordered that some 300 monkeys captured by animal handlers be freed in the forests of central India as part of an effort to rehabilitate them.

But already there are some who are opposing the move, saying the monkeys may find it difficult to adjust to life in the wild after having been raised in an urban environment.