Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Real Overpopulation Problem in India

When you think about India, you think about cheap labor. You think about Bindi Masala or Palak Paneer. You think about your last call to the Dell help desk. You think about a country expected to be the world's most populous by the year 2050.

When you think about India, you don't think about wild monkeys. But you should. Because wild monkeys are a real problem in India, especially around Delhi. As Delhi expands, with half a million new residents moving in every year, the green areas in and around the capital, which for centuries have been the monkeys’ habitat, grow smaller. Their territory encroached on, many monkeys uproot to settle in the city center.

This was especially bad news for Delhi's Deputy Mayor, Sawinder Singh Bajwa, 52, who was reading a paper on his balcony on a Sunday morning in late October when four monkeys appeared. As he brandished a stick to scare them away, he lost his balance and fell to his death, his son said.


It took the death of the deputy mayor to inject new vitality into the removal drive. The mayor, Aarti Mehra, said in a telephone interview that “after the incident, the process has really speeded up.” Already, she said, 35 municipal monkey catchers have been hired, divided into five teams across the city. Over the next few months, a total of 100 will be working in 14 teams, she said. She estimated, however, that 20,000 to 25,000 monkeys still had to be caught.

Maybe they can outsource some of those monkey-hunting jobs to some laid-off American workers. Bank of New York Mellon Corporation CEO Robert Kelly would be an especially good fit.

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