Urban Fold

Monkeys Drive City Bananas

Thousands of wild monkeys are invading New Delhi -- a side effect of increasing outward urban development from the city's central core. The monkeys have been causing mischief throughout the city, and officials are scrambling to control the problem.

"The phenomenon is a side effect of India's rapid urbanization. As Delhi expands, with half a million new residents moving in every year, the green areas in and around the capital, which for centuries have been the monkeys' habitat, grow smaller. Their territory encroached on, many monkeys uproot to settle in the city center."

"Particularly irritating for the authorities is the monkeys' attachment to some of the capital's most prestigious monuments. While most of the bleaker manifestations of the anarchic expansion - the slums, the urban squalor - are hidden from the government's showpiece center, the monkey invasion is visible at the heart of the leafy city of New Delhi, remarked upon by every visiting foreign dignitary."

"It took the death of the deputy mayor," who died in a fall off a balcony as he tried to fight off invading monkeys, "to inject new vitality into the removal drive. The mayor, Aarti Mehra, said in a telephone interview that 'after the incident, the process has really speeded up.' Already, she said, 35 municipal monkey catchers have been hired, divided into five teams across the city. Over the next few months, a total of 100 will be working in 14 teams, she said. She estimated, however, that 20,000 to 25,000 monkeys still had to be caught."

Full Story: Monkeys in the Parks, Monkeys in the Palace

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