Rescuing monkeys is nothing new for Animal Rahat, but last month, the group faced a different kind of challenge. A monkey was incurring the wrath of local villagers by attacking passing vehicles.
Animal Rahat sent a team to assess the situation and notified the Forest Department, as is required with this species. The team learned that there was a troop of 14 langur monkeys living in a fig tree. These are fascinating-looking monkeys with white beards and long tails. Many people had complained bitterly to local officials that one of the monkeys—the male leader—would attack them whenever they drove by the tree.
However, upon further investigation, the team found out that a farmer had tried to run down the monkeys with his tractor, which seemed to be the reason that the monkeys’ leader had gone on the defensive and now perceived all vehicles as a threat to his family. The situation was exacerbated since some villagers had also begun regularly pelting the monkeys with stones.
Animal Rahat called a meeting with the gram panchayat (village council) and explained that harassing monkeys is a violation of wildlife protection laws and that the monkey was simply doing his duty as troop leader. However, the council (and even a Forest Department official) insisted upon the removal of the aggressive monkey. The team replied that this would only make the other monkeys feel vulnerable and put them on the defensive, too. After a marathon of meetings, they reached a compromise: Animal Rahat would relocate the entire group of monkeys.
The team enlisted the help of a professional monkey catcher and worked with the Forest Department to capture all 14 monkeys and release them together into a location with plenty of food and water sources, far away from the village. It also secured the village council’s promise that it wouldn’t tolerate the harassment of wild animals—or any animals—as it only increases the danger to both villagers and animals.