Monday, November 2, 2020

Coronavirus in India make monkeys storm town to look for food... as they attack residents, tourists

Thousands of monkeys are terrorising an Indian city with frequent attacks on tourists and farms after sterilisations and illegal poisonings failed to stop them.

Most of the macaques in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, left the city for the countryside to look for food during India's nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

But the monkeys have returned to bully inhabitants and snatch grocery bags as lockdown restrictions have eased.

Up to 50 troops of hungry monkeys now prowl the former colonial British summer escape in the Himalayan hills.

The city of 160,000 people has long been a major draw for tourists seeking to avoid India's summer heat but food waste they leave behind has become a magnet for the macaques.

Nand Lal, 46, showed his wounds from one altercation with the animals this month, which required multiple anti-rabies injections afterwards.

He said: 'I was passing a group of monkeys when the dominant male suddenly attacked me and three others piled in.

'Luckily I could grab a stick and fight them off. I had bruises all over my face and head. I was bleeding from a bite on my back.'

Days after the assault, Lal said, he could still hear the 'chattering' of his attackers and the two dozen other monkeys that watched.

'People are very scared and they don't know what to do,' according to retired High Court judge Kuldeep Chand Sood, who pointed to a bite in his leg inflicted as he sat reading on the terrace of his home.

Speaking at his home in the macaque-infested Sanjauli district, he said: 'I was just going through my book when suddenly a big monkey attacked and bit me.'

Many Sanjauli homes now have metal cages over their terraces and windows to keep out the invaders, who have even been known to steal from refrigerators.

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