Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Things That Make You Go…

There are monkeys guarding the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

Come again?

There are monkeys guarding the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

Evidently…they are guarding against other monkeys…and wild dogs and snakes…and lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Already facing criticism for the problem-plagued sporting event, authorities are raising eyebrows by using langur monkeys as security guards. No, we aren’t making this up.

Along with 100,000 human personnel (mostly armed with brooms), India has hired 38 langur monkeys to act as security at the Commonwealth Games, a quadrennial sporting event that brings together athletes from 54 countries once embraced by the British Empire.

The langur monkeys will guard the headquarters of the games' organizing committee and major venues against attacks by other animals, just one of the potential (and existing) problems plaguing the New Delhi event which began today.

Here's a brief instant guide we came across (modified slightly, of course):

Why are monkey guards necessary? (That is such a great opening question!)  Answer: Primarily to defend athletes and visitors from other monkeys. A simian attack may sound cartoonish, but it's no laughing matter — such incidents are a common occurrence in India and can be fatal. The deputy mayor of New Delhi, for example, died after falling from his balcony during an attack by wild monkeys in 2007. (Really?)

Is this a particular problem in New Delhi? Smaller simians have a "notorious history for creating havoc" in the city, says Claire McCormack at Time. Misbehaving monkeys have previously invaded the city's public transport system and its parliament buildings and, in recent weeks, have been "creating a nuisance around the [games'] venues by stealing food." (Interesting here we don't call that "monkees causing havoc" we call it "witches running for the Senate in small Mid-Atlantic States we won't mention here (Delaware)."

Why are langur monkeys particularly well-suited to the task? They are the "jackbooted stormtroopers of the monkey world," says Mike Moffitt at The San Francisco Chronicle. They're "loud and fierce... known for their intelligence," and are "often used in India to keep other monkeys in check in public places."  (Rumor has it that popular names include "Chimpler" and "Monk Vader")

Are monkeys the only animal threatening the Games? No. The langur monkeys will also protect venues from wild dogs and snakes. A deadly snake has already been found in a South African athlete's room, forcing games organizers to call in snake charmers to assist the monkeys with their task.

Ok, how about hiring guys with guns to shoot the blame critters? You know, like Australia's Tyren Vitler (pictured here with his air rifle). We bet he could pop a wild dog or a snake from 500 yards.

Man, who doesn’t want to work for the New Delhi tourism board? Think of all the openings…cue the music (sitars, of course). Why go to South Florida or Mexico where you could be attacked by ordinary human criminals, gun waving drug lords or wave runner-riding pirates, when you can come to New Delhi and have an intense nature experience of the criminal variety with monkeys, wild dogs and snakes…Who needs cows? Tourists! They’re the new white, dark and yellow meat!

Sign us up.

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