Parts of the Indian capital have been threatened by a simian attack, with local authorities blaming shortage of catchers for the hordes of "unruly monkeys" that have been responsible for the death of the deputy mayor and assault on at least 25 people in the city.
"We have put up a sufficient number of cages in Shastri Park and also deployed a monkey catcher for the area to catch the unruly monkeys. The captured monkeys will be relocated to the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary," Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) spokesman Deep Chand Mathur said.
"We have taken the issue seriously and all necessary measures are being taken," Mathur told IANS, admitting that so far no major success has been achieved in curbing what he termed the monkey menace in the capital.
Four children were among the 25 people attacked in Shastri Park late Saturday. Farzana, 36, who suffered multiple injuries, was Monday recuperating at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, while others were discharged after treatment.
The incident comes three weeks after Delhi's deputy mayor S.S. Bajwa died trying to fend off an attacking monkey. The MCD, responsible for catching and relocating monkeys, has blamed the monkey menace on the shortage of catchers. The capital has only six expert monkey catchers now.
Mathur said: "There are only a few catchers in the city for an estimated 10,000-20,000 monkeys. Nobody wants to take this job, possibly because of religious sentiments and the dangers involved."
A senior veterinary services official said: "We had even sent teams to various states to find monkey catchers but the efforts have largely remained unfruitful. Two-three have shown interest but said they would join later."
The monkey menace has increased over the years because of the continuous shrinking of the animals' natural habitat. All efforts to relocate them have been futile so far.
The areas affected by the monkey menace include Patparganj, Anand Vihar, Mehrauli, Kamla Nagar and parts of Lutyen's New Delhi.