Sunday – 30th September 2012
“Mannki aaya…Mannki…aaya”, said Dipti, our domestic help with her eyes wide open and pointing towards the kitchen window in excitement. My husband went to the window to see what she was meant by saying ‘Mannki’. However there was nothing at the window. It soon became apparent what Dipti was saying a few seconds later when the doorbell rang and the watchman came and told us that a huge monkey was at large in the building. He instructed us to keep the windows and the doors closed lest the monkey came inside the house.
As sleepy and lazy as I usually am on Sunday mornings, I made myself wake up when I heard all the commotion. When I looked down from the French window of our house on the 6th floor, I could see the kids in the building compound pointing at something on the 2nd or 3rd floor. Hurriedly I grabbed my camera to straight go down and catch a glimpse of the ‘Mannki’.
I reached on the ground floor and walked out of the building and sure enough, there it was! A huge healthy Bonnet Macaque! He was on the first floor of the building, outside the window, eating a banana that someone had given him. It seemed that he was a wild monkey since he did not have any collar or any mark suggesting that he had been staying with humans. He had probably strayed outside from Aarey which is a stone’s throw away from our building. Maybe the huge Visarjan crowds that had passed through the Aarey road yesterday had disturbed him. He soon finished eating the banana and seemed to be confused as to what to do next. I asked the watchman if they had called someone to rescue it, but the watchman replied in the negative. I then tried calling up Karuna and a few other Animal Welfare Organizations but all the numbers were unreachable.
By this time, the monkey was peeking down and looking at the small group of children below and seemed to be searching for a safe way out. He finally seemed to decide that the coast was clear and jumped down from the first floor onto a car. This caused a great hullaballoo amongst the delighted children but thankfully none of them were stupid to try and go near him or harm him. As we watched, he jumped from the car he was sitting on to our car. I tried clicking a picture but unfortunately somebody walked past exactly at that moment and ruined the frame. Oh well… you can’t win them all.
The monkey then quickly ran across the ground onto a wall and walked on all fours on the edge of the wall to the next building. Here again he dawdled trying to decide where to go. Finally he spotted some trees at the back of the building and ran across the ground and climbed up a tall tree and vanished among the leaves. It was too hot by then to keep up with him and thus our Sunday morning private ‘Monkey trail’ ended. The tree where he disappeared was close to Aarey and he would have probably found his way home from there.
All in all, it was quite an exciting Sunday morning.
Some basic facts about the Indian Bonnet Macaque:
- The Bonnet Macaque of India is one of the Old World Monkeys that is they have nostrils that are close together and non prehensile tails.
- As the name suggests, these monkeys appear to be wearing a hat due to the peculiar layout of their fur.
- Bonnet macaques have a lifespan of over 30 years.
- Bonnet macaques often sleep in fig trees near human settlements, as well as tall trees with dense foliage.
- Bonnet macaques are fairly abundant, and are not considered to be endangered.
If you want to know more about the monkey species found in India, here is the link to an interesting read http://indiasendangered.com/monkeys-of-india/