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India employs 40 mimics to scare off parliament monkeys

Monkeys in Delhi
Thousands of macaque monkeys roam Delhi's streets

Forty young people are employed in India to impersonate monkeys to scare off real monkeys causing havoc around Delhi's parliament, a minister says.

The men make screeching noises similar to those of black-faced langur monkeys, to frighten red-faced macaque monkeys.

Thousands of macaque monkeys roam Delhi's streets, trashing gardens and offices and attacking people for food.

Details of the roles emerged in a parliamentary statement on Thursday by Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu.

Delhi's civic authorities were earlier using real langurs to keep monkeys away from the parliament complex.

But the practice had to be abandoned after protests from animal rights activists and a court order that keeping monkeys in captivity was cruel.

Real langurs were used to scare monkeys but the practice was abandoned after charges of animal cruelty

Macaque monkeys are considered sacred by Hindus, who often feed them, encouraging them to remain.

"Various efforts are being made to tackle the monkey and dog menace inside and around the parliament house... The measures include scaring the monkeys away by trained persons who disguise themselves as langurs," M Venkaiah Naidu told parliament.

This "very talented" group imitate the whoops and barks of langurs and hide behind trees to ward off the aggressive animals, officials of the Delhi municipality said.

Delhi's large population of stray monkeys has been a long-standing problem and they are considered a public nuisance.

They have caused havoc, riding on the city's metro trains, and roaming through parliament, invading the prime minister's office and the defence ministry.

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