The orange or gray monkeys, which weigh 12 to 17 pounds, have become one of the most dreaded pests in India, biting around 1,000 people a day nationwide and overrunning cities like New Delhi. The monkey problem has become so overwhelming that officials are searching for ways to use birth control on the animals.
In the fruit-growing state of Himachal Pradesh, monkeys have increased more than fivefold in the past decade, according the government. The animals create up to $300 million in crop losses and diverted labor every year, the farmer’s group Kheti Bachao Andolan said.
“Wherever they go, panic spreads,” said primatologist Iqbal Malik, who runs a nonprofit called Vatavaran, which is Hindi for environment. “Residents warn each other to close all doors and windows. Any houses which get raided by monkeys (are left) in shambles — eatables on the floor, crockery broken, taps open, wires cut, plants mauled.”
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