Trained monkeys to guard athletes

 

While 100,000 security guards have been deployed to counter potential threats from militants, authorities here have turned to rented langurs to thwart any monkey threat to the Commonwealth Games starting on Sunday.

Monkeys are a menace in some parts of the Indian capital, especially east Delhi, and one such attack in 2007 led to the death of the then deputy mayor SS Bajwa who fell from a terrace and eventually succumbed to injuries.

The grey langur, a giant monkey with a black face, is a popular antidote to the monkey threat and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is using the old trick to scare away the primates.

"We have deployed 38 langurs and it is a very effective way to scare away the common monkeys," NDMC spokesman Anand Tiwari said today.

"We take these langurs on rent. Their trainers accompany them and once the assignment is over, they return home," he added.

One such langur guards the headquarters of the Games organising committee, while the giant monkeys were also seen in front of Talkatora Stadium and the National Stadium.

The langurs are a common feature in some of the office buildings in Delhi and most of the trainers hail from the state of Rajasthan.

Apart from monkeys, rats are a major concern in the city but the Municipal Corporation of Delhi launched a drive, armed with 600 rat traps and 100kg of rat-killers, to clear the venues of the rodents.

Delhi is also reeling under a dengue fever outbreak with more than 3,000 cases reported so far this year.

Stagnant pools at some of the Games venues were found breeding mosquitoes and the organisers released mosquito-eating fish in the water at the Games Village and are carrying out daily fogging there.

Reuters