40 men in ape suits to scare monkeys away from parliament
New Delhi: Forty trained men are scaring away monkeys from the parliament premises by posing as langurs, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.
"The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has hired 40 young people for this purpose," Naidu said in parliament.
These men are summoned by the New Delhi Municipal Council to spots, including the Parliament House, that come under the siege of monkeys.
The 'langurs' suddenly appear from behind bushes and trees to drive away the simians through sounds and gestures.
Until last summer, Delhi's streets were patrolled by actual langurs. Monkey catchers and their trained langurs walked a beat in posh neighborhoods or rushed to the scene of a macaque invasion.
But the Indian government decided a year ago to start enforcing a rule against keeping langurs in captivity, putting an end to the practice.
The result has been a rise in monkey-related complaints to the New Delhi Municipal Corporation.
Without their langur partners, most monkey catchers moved to other professions. “We couldn't find people who knew the tactics to scare the monkeys,” said the NDMC employee.
The municipality has outsourced the policing of monkeys to a contractor and identified 40 important locations that need protection including the homes of ministers and around Parliament.
Pramod Kumar is one of the forty monkey impersonators. He is stationed outside the home of a Supreme Court Justice, and sees between 50 to a 100 monkeys daily. He growls at them or chases them with a stick but says he doesn't use a costume.
It remains unclear if the new troop of monkey guards are as effective as the originals.
“It can take an hour or more for the monkeys to get scared away,” said the city official. “They don't get scared easily.”