Grey langurs are easily identified by their furry faces with whiskers that appear to form a halo. (Reuters)

Primate checklist | Mint

The G20 should focus on development, not politics. If this refrain about next week’s summit in New Delhi evokes Mahatma Gandhi’s visual metaphor of three monkeys that “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” (by keeping away from wicked influences), it might be because of related news that the city’s preparatory drill has special plans for the rhesus species of primates. To fend off the nuisance that hordes of them could pose if they descend on G20 venues, faux langurs will be deployed. The latter are bully primates with an eminent record of scaring their smaller cousins away. So, the capital’s civic authorities have placed over a dozen life-size image cut-outs of grey langurs—easily identified by their furry faces with whiskers that appear to form a halo—at spots where rhesus macaques are found in large numbers. Once the summit gets underway, a trained crew of 30-40 humans will be assigned the task of mimicking langur sounds to scare this unwanted lot away from places they mustn’t mess around with. Human mimicry is an old gimmick used in Indian villages. Over time, though, macaques get wise to fake langur calls. Delhi’s presumably haven’t.

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Updated: 31 Aug 2023, 11:39 PM IST

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