A couple of cunning Indian border guards successfully chased away dozens of loitering monkeys by donning black bear costumes and charging towards them.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were caught on camera monkeying – or rather bear-ing – around at the Mirthi ITBP camp on the border with Tibet, in Indian’s Eastern Uttarakhand province, where numerous macaques had taken over the landscape.
A couple of the pesky monkeys could be seen edging ever closer to the camp’s building, but all of a sudden the little creatures began darting in the opposite direction.
Take a look at the video here:
— ANI (@ANI) March 9, 2020
The reason for their fear soon became apparent as a pair of black, hunched-over figures made their way out of the building and began stomping towards the macaques.
It’s unclear whether the guards had previously attempted to get rid of the monkeys in their regular, human attire, but evidently they felt the time had come to dress up as something the pests would consider more threatening.
From a distance the outfits look like they could be gorilla costumes, though footage of the scene was shared on Twitter and the poster, Neeta Sharma, described the costumes as ‘jungle bears’.
#ITBP jawans found a unique way to scare monkeys in #Uttrakhand They dressed like jungle bears ! See how monkeys ran away in seconds @ITBP_official.
— Neeta Sharma (@NEETAS11) March 9, 2020
Whatever animal they were meant to be, the guards’ efforts paid off as the macaques quickly scattered over the wall and could be seen running across the road at the bottom of the hillside in a desperate attempt to avoid the ‘bears’.
Infestations of macaques are becoming a national problem in India, with the monkeys causing problems in villages as well as in airports, bureaucratic offices, military bases and religious shrines.
Earlier this year, a couple of villagers in Sikandarpur, Uttar Pradesh, adopted the same technique as the guards to get rid of persistent macaques, the Hindustan Times reports.
Village head Ram Lalit Verma told reporters:
We have now started taking turns in wearing the bear costume and roaming around the village. It was a relative who had told me about the idea and it is actually working.
Iqbal Malik, a primatologist and environmental activist based in New Delhi, says macaques in India have turned aggressive as a result of human interference.
Speaking to Gizmodo last year, she said:
Large-scale deforestation destroys their natural habitats, resulting in the fragmentation of groups and causing monkeys to move towards rural and urban areas in search of food.
Bear costumes are evidently effective when it comes to scaring off monkeys, though one Twitter user pointed out it may not be long before the animals catch on to the fact there’s humans beneath the outfits.
It is only a matter of time before they figure out that these are humans…see Monkeys do have some intelligence…
— Soumen Mukherjee (@soumenm) March 9, 2020
Residents may have to consider investing in some other costumes to continue to convince the monkeys, but at least they’ve found a fix for now!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.