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Killer Monkeys Invade Town

Pic shows: A child trying to escape from a monkey in Shimla on Tuesday. A ban on capturing monkeys to sell for medical research has led to an explosion of killer ape numbers in northern India that is making a monkey of local officials. Protesters say in one town alone – Shimla, in Himachal Pradesh province – there are at least 400 cases of humans being bitten by monkeys every month. Last week local judges condemned a lack of government action after a woman was cornered and killed by a mob of marauding monkeys as she tried to shoo them from her farm. Regional Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir said: “The growth of monkeys is at its peak. It is shocking to record that in the last week we have lost the precious life of a young woman.” Another recent victim, reports local media, is frail 86-year-old Rukhmani Kanwar who is still critical from multiple bite wounds and fractures from a black-faced langur monkey, which can grow to 4ft tall and weight 40lbs. Local deputy mayor Takinder Panwar, 42, has criticised central government officials for issuing wildlife preservation ordered to protect monkeys in the wild. He said: “Our hands are tied. We are no longer allowed to cull them or export them for medical research. As a result the population is too large to be supported in the wild and they come into the town looking for easy food.” But conservationists claim the monkey numbers – estimated to be at least 400,000 in the region – only cause a problem because of the rapid expansion of towns and villages. Former Indian Forest Service ranger and Nature Watch campaigner Rajeshwar Negi, 36, said: “We strongly reject and condemn the demands for either culling or allowing the export of monkeys for medical research.” (ends)

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