BANGALORE ~ ‘Lock your fridge during simian visiting hours.’ ‘In case a monkey sits on your head, stay still as it will clear your scalp of lice.’ ‘Do not run away from the primate as it just wants to socialise.’ ‘The monkey is man’s ancestor so don’t be surprised to see it mating in public.’ These and other bizarre gems are the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) advice to panic- stricken citizens who called the civic body to help contain the monkey menace in the city.
The email has been sent by Bangalore’s honorary wildlife warden Sharath Babu on behalf of the forest cell of the BBMP. The mail says that the bonnet macaques roaming the city are social creatures and residents are to blame for their intrusions. The mail lists several reasons for the increase in monkey numbers. These include feeding of monkeys for superstitious reasons, unscientific garbage management, food wastage, milk sachets left at doorsteps and a reduction of green cover.
The mail advises that children should avoid eating in front of primates. People should not cook excess food and keep dustbins indoors, out of simian sight. It also recommends that people be armed with sticks while walking on terraces. When face to face with a monkey, it is best to keep teeth concealed. A bare dental set is seen by the monkey as a challenge. For good measure, the mail adds that initially these steps will be difficult to follow, but in a few months the monkey menace will ease.
“We have to cohabit and be careful,’’ says Sharath Babu. Asked why the mail bordered on the farcical, an aggressive Babu says, “I have not done a PhD on simian behaviour but these [traits mentioned in the mail] are common observations. In fact, many residents call and thank me for the mail. If some people take offence and feel we should capture and relocate monkeys, let me assure you it’s a long process as it involves permission from the Forest Department. Instead, the steps listed in the mail will help tormented residents.’’ Well, if you can’t beat them, befriend them.▪