Authorities in India are determined to keep all monkey business under control before world leaders arrive next week by hanging life-size cutouts of angry langurs across the capital to deter smaller, pesky primates from wreaking havoc or that To hog the spotlight while the nation takes center stage.
India is preparing to host leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) nations in New Delhi next weekend, including US President Joe Biden, in an event of utmost importance at home.
Little is left to chance, not even the city’s notoriously vicious rhesus monkey population.
The little monkeys can be found all over the capital, running across streets, hopping between rooftops, causing general nuisances and occasionally attacking unexpected pedestrians.
As the government embarks on a major beautification drive by giving walls a fresh coat of paint, planting trees and placing colorful flowers in key areas of the city, New Delhi authorities have taken steps to ensure that animals do not derail these efforts.
There are the langurs – or at least cardboard cutouts of langurs – and men trained to sound like the larger primates.
“(The monkeys) don’t want to go near the large cutouts of the langurs because they are afraid,” Satish Upadhyay, deputy chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council, told Indian news agency ANI. “Monkeys must not be chased away, injured or beaten.”
Upadhyay added that they have also deployed between 30 and 40 men who can mimic the sounds of langurs to trick the rhesus monkeys into thinking they are nearby.
The council has also left food for the monkeys in forest areas to encourage them to stay there, he added.
Monkeys are revered in Hindu-majority India and culling programs for wild or stray animals have proven highly controversial in the past. Therefore, more humane solutions are required.
The langur monkey is much larger and more aggressive than the smaller rhesus monkey and has long been used by authorities in the past to deter marauding gangs of rhesus monkeys.
As the Portal news agency reported, live langurs were hired and used at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Much of central New Delhi will be shut down for the G20 summit in a huge move to ensure world leaders can move freely between hotels and venues.
Billboards promoting the summit and featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face are plastered on many street corners, while police and security presence are expected to increase in the days leading up to the meeting.