Thousands of monkeys uprooted by sprawl move into New Delhi
Last month, the deputy mayor of New Delhi fell from a terrace to his death while trying to fend off a gang of wild monkeys. This weekend, rampaging monkeys attacked up to 25 people in the Indian capital. While the scenes are tragic, it would be a stretch to call them unexpected: In the center of New Delhi, monkeys scamper through buildings, bathe in fountains, and frolic in parks and on groomed lawns. “They attack patients who are being rolled inside the hospital, pull out IV tubes, and scamper off to drink the fluids,” says lawyer Meera Bhatia. Half a million people move into New Delhi every year; the consequential sprawl is gobbling up monkey habitat, forcing thousands of primates to become urban dwellers. City officials are redoubling removal efforts, but face opposition from animal-rights advocates and devout Hindus who believe the primates are an incarnation of the monkey god Hanuman.