I recently posted a video on the some of the run-ins I’ve had with monkeys across Asia. One of the clips in the short video showed a woman being attacked by a Langur Monkey in Kolkata India. Here’s a little background leading up to the event.
I had been out for the day with my good friend Subroto who lives in Kolkata. He had a plan to take me to Dakshineswar to see the Kali Temple there. We would then take a boat across the river to Belur Math. A beautiful complex dedicated to Ramikrishna, the 19th century Indian mystic.
Even during the week Dakshineswar is a bustling area with many worshippers making the trip out to North Kolkata. The beautiful Kali Temple is the center of all this activity. There are food stalls surrounding the complex and many people take a snack or lunch there. Wherever there are large groups of people and food you will usually find monkeys in this part of the world. There were many Langur Monkeys in the area looking for handouts. Some were also looking for opportunities to steal.
We had just finished a walk around the temple when we noticed a woman hand feeding one of the monkeys while it was sitting on a fence. Having my camcorder ready I starting filming. The monkey seemed quite calm and was actually holding the woman’s wrist while it was taking food. When you watch the video you’ll notice the woman gets distracted and turns away. As she turns away to focus her attention on someone else she begins to pull at the monkeys hand she is holding. This is when things went wrong. The monkey obviously felt that its little windfall of food was suddenly being taken away and fought back.
I’ve been to many sites around Asia where food is sold to tourists to hand out to monkeys. This is wrong in so many ways. I highly discourage anyone from hand-feeding monkeys. They are wild animals that are highly unpredictable. When they feel the slightest bit of threat they will react. These are strong creatures with sharp teeth. Sometimes they are disease carriers.
Never mind what they can do to you. When you feed a monkey you are creating a dependency on human food and training them to be a nuisance. The woman in this video was not harmed other than maybe a little scrape when she was pushed down to the ground. It could have been a lot worse.
Monkeys are always interesting to watch whether they are in a natural habitat or not. They are social creatures and have many similar characteristics to human behaviour. I’ve been lucky enough to spend lots of time watching them in every situation imaginable. They truly are amazing. But when they’re around me they know I’m not sharing any food. Now if I could just keep them from eyeing my watch and sunglasses!
I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.
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