Most of the time Iím happy I donít have to cover national and international news, but once in awhile, there is a story I just wish was in our coverage zone. This monkey story, heard on public radio while driving to work, is one.
Monkeys have taken over some neighborhoods in New Delhi, India. They break into peopleís homes and offices, stealing food and causing general mayhem. They steal whiskey and get tipsy while digging through Dumpsters.
Some in India believe monkeys and other primates are the incarnation of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, so they feed them, in turn making the monkeys more daring in their escapades.
At first, government officials tried to send them all to sanctuaries, but soon they were full and the problem again reared its monkey head. Because of Hanuman, people are unwilling to kill or sterilize the critters, so a new idea was introduced: more monkeys.
Big, scary, langur monkeys were brought in. The larger monkeys would frighten away the smaller, problem Rhesus monkeys, and for awhile, patrolmen walking the big monkeys around on leashes did the trick. But animal rights activists objected, and the langurs had to go.
The newest solution, apparently, are in langur monkey impersonators, who travel the streets shouting goofy noises with the hopes they will scare away the pesky Rhesus packs. It seems the monkeys are getting used to the impersonators.
Itís funny the way we feel about the animals we live with in our little corners of the world. I know lots of people think that deer are incredibly beautiful ó mainly the folks who live in locales without the hoofed animals. I also know plenty of people who, after hitting enough of them with their cars and waking to find entire gardens gobbled up overnight find them less cute than they once might have.
We think kangaroos are exotic and neat; Australians, I have heard, regard them with about as much esteem as we do deer. They eat them, too.
Raccoons? Donít get me started! Iím not really in love with raccoons, although I have to admit I cannot drive past a couple of babies huddled next to their dead mothers by the side of the road. I scoop them up, put them in the bathtub, and call my friendís dad, who is a retired Wisconsin deputy who takes them in on his farm. I can only imagine the army of striped little guys he must have by now.
One time, we couldnít get in touch with our raccoon rescuer right away, so the twin babies ended up staying with us for about a week. My mom was visiting, and the combination produced a quote that I will never forget. The babies were in a large animal carrier inside of the bathtub, and I needed my husband, Chris, to take them out so my mother could take a shower.
ďChris,Ē I hollered in my best hillbilly voice. ďGet the Ďcoons out the tub so Ma can take a bath!Ē
It really doesnít get much better than that, does it??