Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Meanwhile, Back in the Real World

From NBC6:

Blood-Sucking Monkeys At Temple Attack Hundreds Of Kids

GAUHATI, India — Monkeys lurking at an ancient Hindu temple in India’s northeast have attacked up to 300 children over three weeks.

Temple officials said the monkeys hide in trees and swoop on unsuspecting children, “clawing them and even sucking a bit of blood.” They said at least 2,000 rhesus monkeys roam in and around the temple, but none had shown aggressive behavior in the past.

“I was returning home from school when a monkey suddenly pounced on me, scratched my head and hand and pushed me to the ground,” said Jolly Sharma, a 6-year-old girl.

Monkeys are often found in tens of thousands of temples across India. They are seen as a symbol of the Hindu monkey god, and devotees visiting temples often feed them.

While occasional attacks by monkeys are not uncommon at temples, the sudden surge in attacks at the Gauhati temple has experts perplexed.

Some said the monkeys may be turning violent because of shrinking living spaces, or because animals once kept as pets might not have been able to adjust to new lives around the temple.

Three monkeys were randomly tranquilized by wildlife officials over the weekend and have been taken to the Gauhati Zoo where they will be examined, said Narayan Mahanta, a wildlife official in Gauhati.

Go ahead and make this a metaphor for the election if you like. Or not.