Monkeys | India | Living in Mexico


Cute, cuddly and photogenic, the monkeys we usually have to visit zoos to observe roam freely in India. I was delighted to run across some. These images were shot on a woodland hike. They are social and seem to have good family values.

Mothers groom their babies and carry them everywhere. Babies groom their mothers, too. Males are aloof, avoiding family responsibilities, but hey, they're male. What do you expect?

I didn't have to go out of my way to find monkeys: they're everywhere. Lots of them. Probably too many of them.


Some consider them pests, especially in urban settings. Monkeys rampage through markets, vandalize government offices, damage power lines, and injure residents and tourists alike.


I think these monkeys are rhesus macaques—can anyone confirm this? Their populations continue to grow unchecked because they are considered sacred, manifestations of the monkey god, Hanuman.


In Delhi, monkeys are captured and held in compounds outside the city, awaiting relocation. But so far, no other state will take them, protesting they already have enough of their own. Sterilization has been proposed, but opposition in the lower house of parliament, led by Maneka Gandhi, daughter-in-law of the late Indian leader Indira Gandhi, blocks adoption of this remedy.


In a country where many believe that the cud-chewing cow in the road or the lunch-stealing monkey is a reincarnation of someone's philandering uncle (knocked down a peg on the path to enlightenment for his transgressions), it's tough to take decisive animal control steps. Like with so many things in Indian life, people just muddle along, coexisting with harassment, damage, and scat. They write impotent letters to the Hindustan Times. Nothing gets done.