India Needs Fake Monkeys

Ian-Fortey by Ian-Fortey on Aug. 01, 2014

This may not be the best job in the world, but it’s an awesome job and it needs recognition.  The backstory is long and weird but you have a minute, right?

In India, in the city of New Delhi, there has long been a monkey plague.  Some years back the mayor of the city was even killed by a roving gang of monkeys that either pushed or scared him off of his own balcony.  The monkeys travel in packs, invade homes, steal food and clothes and generally cause a fairly massive and widespread nuisance.  Imagine if all the rats in New York were 10 times bigger and had the crafty intelligence of a 10 year old who saw nothing wrong with flinging his own poop.

You may ask yourself, why don’t they do something about the monkeys.  Well, the blame for that can be laid squarely at the feet of Hanuman, the Monkey God.  New Delhi is largely Hindu and one of the most popular deities for the folks in town is Hanuman, who just happens to be a monkey.  So revered is Hanuman that people will even leave treats out for him and/or his earthly counterparts which are monkeys.  And because Hanuman is a god, you don’t want to mess with his god-like little buddies on earth.  So no one hurts the monkeys, which in turn creates a population of extremely greedy and arrogant monkeys.  If no one tells them no, and some people even feed them, then that means (in a monkeys brain) everyone is saying “yes, come in to my house in groups and do whatever you want.”

This monkey scourge became such a problem for Parliament that they had to think of a way to get rid of the monkeys from their government building without actually doing anything to harm the monkeys.  So how do you do that?  Out-monkey the monkeys.  They started hiring langurs.  Langurs are large monkeys that the smaller rhesus monkeys which terrorize the city are afraid of.  Put the langurs around a building, so the theory goes, and the rhesus monkeys will leave you alone.  If you recall correctly, this insane solution was actually used in an episode of the Simpsons once to deal with invasive species.

Wait a minute - you're not my wife!

This problem isn’t new.  In fact, it’s embarrassingly old.  Tens of thousands of monkeys have been trapped since at least 2007 in the city and nothing seems to stem the tide since locals will readily feed them and trapped monkeys which are taken to a monkey sanctuary in the South just climb the wall and travel back to Delhi. 

Langur pee will keep a monkey away from a building for a few weeks until the scent wears off, otherwise you can just hire a langur handler to keep the real monkey at your building. Unfortunately, a langur is no picnic and if it wants to attack you it can and will beat the snot out of you so the government is moving to plan B – hire people to dress like langurs.

If this job sounds appealing, and there are 40 slots open, you’ll be outfitted with your very own langur costume and allowed to patrol the parliament grounds in an effort to scare off monkeys.  If you’re worried that monkeys are too smart for this and will notice that you smell, move and act human well, you’re smarter than the guy who hired you, so maybe you can negotiate for hazard pay.  In any event, we wish good luck to India’s monkey-men and hope none of them get bitten too badly.