The Monkey Menace

Monkeys in Assam develop special liking for the fairer sex

      "Gods have become terrors" ...
      "Rampaging troops of monkeys" ...
      "The Monkey menace" ...
      "lurking fear of monkeys" ...
      "workable monkey policy" ...

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Guwahati, Oct 3, IRNA -- 'Gods' in India's northeastern state of Assam have become terrors with a special liking for the fairer sex -- putting human males into a quandary.

Rampaging troops of monkeys, worshipped by Hindus as a one of the gods, have developed a fancy for women and girls -- barging into homes in daylight and snatching away clothes and playing pranks.

"Up to 20 monkeys roam around in my locality, entering homes during the daytime when most of the male folks are out on work," Rashmi Borthakur, a housewife in Guwahati, Assam's capital, said.

From eating cooked food in the kitchen to plundering belongings inside rooms, the monkeys have been wreaking havoc in most of Assam's towns and cities.

The monkey menace has put the state wildlife authorities in a fix. "We know the immensity of the problem but are totally helpless," Assam's Chief Wildlife Warden Sonadhar Doley told IRNA.

Doley said monkeys have caused severe loss to agriculture -- feasting on banana plantations, besides fruit orchards, in several Assam villages.

The lurking fear of monkeys on the prowl has led to panic in certain localities in the capital city with people now ensuring all doors and windows were bolted to prevent the marauding primates from entering.

According to estimates there could be up to 10,000 rhesus monkeys in Guwahati alone with the beasties fast multiplying by the day.

The rhesus monkeys have since ages been cohabiting among humans in India with the animal considered sacred by the majority Hindus.

Experts were now trying for a workable monkey policy to check the menace but blames humans for forcing the simians to come out of their habitat.

Trappers and buyers required young, or sub-adults, breaking up large colonies into smaller groups that extended their living space into cities. In 1972, a Wildlife Protection Act made monkey exports illegal, though some smuggling continues.

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