Langur Monkeys to
Guard Games in India
The Commonwealth Games, an olympics type international competition to start in New Delhi, India, next week, will have an unusual platoon guarding its grounds: langur monkeys. They’ll help keep other, smaller monkeys, snakes, even out of control cows from disrupting the proceedings, besides of course, adding er a local color to the games, which have already been plagued by countless problems to begin with.
For instance, a couple of weeks ago, a pedestrian traffic bridge supervision for safety. Then a team of inspectors found appalling conditions of hygiene in some of the athlete quarters that were supposed to be ready to host them. Organization officials had to step up a campaign to counter the bad publicity the mishaps generated and the growing wave of public criticism.
And then there’re the monkeys. Rhesus and other small species are known to wreak havoc all around this city of over 18 million. Wild in nature but closer to the definition of a feral existence, they can be aggressive, despite living in urban areas all year around, feeding off scraps and garbage dumps. In the city, their population remains unchecked because they lack predators and are not subject to any official control policy.
Langur monkeys, which are widespread in India, can weight up to 40 pounds and also face the loss of their natural habitat. They’re not particularly hostile or being specifically trained to the job at hand, but the organization hopes their deployment will serve as a deterrent against smaller monkeys, straight dogs and pretty much every other animal expected to roam the grounds of the games. Except perhaps tigers and elephants, but for that, trained handlers and sharpshooters will also be on guard.
As it happens with such games, a huge global audience is expected to attend. And as with the recent World Cup held in South Africa, the locals will hardly notice them. The majority of New Delhians, living in sub-poverty conditions, will probably continue their begging in the streets and search for food in dumpsters, before and after the games. Some will most likely be right outside competition sites, disputing with smaller animals the attention of the world. And langurs won’t be able to contain them.