Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is this any way for deities to act?

Macaques run amuck in India.

More than 6,500 rhesus monkeys, Macaca mulatta, have roamed the megalopolis of Delhi in recent years. The gray-brown, pink-faced macaques - which stand at around one and a half feet, usually weigh 15 pounds or so, and can live for 25 years - reportedly have invaded homes and offices, swiping cell phones and sodas, biting children and slapping women. There are stories of them breaking into police stations, donning guns and holsters, and raiding hospitals, where they attack doctors and snatch Ivs from patients' arms to slurp the sugary liquid... Everyone knows the story of the monkey who allegedly mooched booze from a central-Delhi liquor store - Aristocrat vodka and McDowell's whiskey were his favorites.

...In India, devotees regularly feed monkeys in tribute to (the god) Hanuman. This teaches monkeys to associate people with food - and to swipe it when it isn't freely given. Imagine what would happen in, say, Alaska, if residents walked around handing out salmon to grizzlies. Now imagine people building temples to the grizzly god and spinning fantastic fables about His Ursineness.

Read the rest of this indepth report of bad behavior on both sides by James Vlahos at Outside magazine.

(Photo from Flickr user Jakhol. )

1 comment:

  1. Well, macaques are probably closer to raccoons than grizzlies on the mischief magnitude scale. Wouldn't want to be slapped by a grizzly (or really, a macaque for that matter).


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