Officials also hire more than 30 ‘monkey-men to scare away the primates as global leaders make their way to New Delhi.
Life-size cutouts of langurs have been erected in several parts of New Delhi and teams of “monkey-men” have been hired to deter marauding monkeys from munching on the floral displays laid out for the G20 summit next week.
New Delhi’s city council has hired more than 30 “monkey wallahs”, or “monkey-men”, who mimic the hoots and screams of the aggressive langur monkey – the natural enemy of the smaller rhesus macaque primates.
Rhesus monkeys are a menace in many areas of India’s capital, running across busy roads without warning and often attacking unsuspecting pedestrians or residents.
They also wreak havoc in the capital’s leafy government areas.
The langur – a bigger primate with a black face – has commonly been used by authorities in the city to scare away monkeys, with the remedy already working well in this instance, officials said.
“We can’t remove the monkeys from their natural habitat, so we have deployed a team of 30 to 40 men who are trained to scare away monkeys,” Satish Upadhyay, the vice chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council, said on Wednesday.
“We will deploy one man each at the hotels where the delegates would be staying, as well as in places where monkey sightings have been reported.”
The Delhi metropolitan area, home to approximately 30 million people, has been on an intense beautification drive since India assumed the G20 presidency last year.
Police have readied a near-shutdown of the centre of the capital for the September 9-10 summit, with roads blocked and a holiday declared with businesses shut.
In addition, authorities have started providing food to monkeys in forested areas to ensure they do not wander beyond the boundaries.
“We started placing these cutouts in the city over the last one week and are already seeing a positive impact. Monkeys have stopped going to the areas where these are present,” Upadhyay said.
This is not the first time New Delhi has turned to langurs to resolve its monkey problem during a major international event. Live langurs were rented and put on duty when the Commonwealth Games were held in the city in 2010.
The monkeys have also become wise quickly. When a plastic langur was set up, playing recorded sounds of the animals, it lasted only three days before monkeys tore it to pieces.