30,000 Monkeys Are Wreaking Havoc on India's Capital

Creatively speaking, humankind has put a lot of energy into speculating what could happen when chimps take over the world (there have been — what? — a billion Planet of the Apes movies made by now?), but, as it turns out, it isn't the non-human apes that we should be focusing on, but their rat-faced monkey brethren. The threat isn't even hypothetical: Monkeys are literally overrunning cities right now.

Half human, half raccoon (that's science!), monkeys are expert thieves and bullies. They'll punch and bite people. They'll take food out of your hands and trap you in your home. This kind of monkey terrorism has become a particular problem in Delhi, India's capital city, where the monkey population (rhesus monkeys, in particular) is estimated to be at least 30,000.

As James Tapper writes for the Globalpost, "It's hard to over-emphasize this point: India's rhesus monkeys are derelicts. They regularly steal food, alcohol, glasses, medical equipment, and clothes. They even break into cars."

Tapper continues:

Many people feed monkeys on Tuesday and Saturdays — days associated with the monkey-faced Hindu god Hanuman. This practice means that people carrying food at other times risk being bitten. Around 90 percent of the monkeys carry tuberculosis.

Children are often more vulnerable to attack, and people have even died as a result. In 2007, New Delhi's deputy mayor, Surinder Singh Bajwa, perished after being attacked by monkeys at his home. He fell from his terrace, causing a serious head injury.

The problem is so bad that there's even a black market for langur monkeys — a larger breed than the rhesus — that, though a protected species, are often used as guards to protect human homes because they will attack and scare off other monkey gangs.

But only if they're tough enough:

"People said to get a langur," says one Indian executive who spoke to Tapper anonymously (probably out of fear of monkey retribution). "But the monkeys mobbed the langur and beat it up. They're not stupid — they outnumber the langur."

That's curtains for humanity, folks. The monkeys are too strong! Let's hand them the keys to the planet and hope for the best.

Image via Getty.