Fake monkeys to shoo real ones; Delhi gears up for G20 Summittext_fields
New Delhi: To keep real monkeys away from sites hosting the G20 Summit next week, authorities in New Delhi have set up fake ones and employed individuals to sound like them.
Authorities are hoping that life-size cutouts of aggressive langur species will help discourage smaller macaques from interrupting the gathering of world leaders that will take place in the Indian capital on Sept. 9–10. Delhi has a large population of monkeys.
The majority of the fake monkeys will guard the area where important foreign dignitaries will be staying.
There will also be mimics used to deter monkeys from nibbling on the flower arrangements set up to welcome G20 participants and “ensure that they don’t bite anyone,” the New Delhi Municipal Corp. said, Arab News reported.
“We have hired over 20 people who can mimic langur sounds … These people will be posted on the main ridge area called Sardar Patel Marg,” the corporation’s spokesperson Radha Krishan said.
The G20 Summit's location, Pragati Maidan, is accessible by Sardar Patel Marg, which also connects New Delhi's upscale neighbourhood and diplomatic quarter with the airport.
“This is the VIP route, and the attempt is so that monkeys don’t come out of the forest when prime ministers and presidents are taking this route,” said Nahar Singh Negi, a security guard who was installing the langur cutouts on Thursday.
“The monkeys have the habit of snatching things from people’s hands. These cutouts will discourage monkeys from coming out of the forest and creating nuisance.”
The cutouts look so convincing to the human eye that they may be mistaken for actual langurs. However, they might be less effective for primates who rely on other senses in addition to sight.
“Humans imitating a langur’s voice might work out to an extent … (but) the cutouts and statutes would not deter monkeys. Animals depend on signals to react. They have animal instincts, and that instinct cannot be developed in response to cutouts,” said C.R. Babu, professor emeritus of the Delhi University’s Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems.
“Monkeys cannot receive any signal from a cutout; monkeys receive signals from living animals.”
Authorities in Delhi have attempted to chase away monkeys in the past.
During the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Real langurs were patrolling the streets with their handlers to ward off smaller monkeys.
However, the use of these animals in captivity garnered criticism from animal rights advocates, and since then, professional langur impersonators have occasionally been used to guard the parliament and other government buildings.