Its primary targets seem to be senior citizens and the young
A monkey has gone berserk on the outskirts of the city, attacking people and biting babies.
There seems no end to the horror stories among residents of Annai Nagar at Alankuppam. The victims range from infants to a 90-year-old woman.
The monkey’s latest victim is barely a year-and-a-half old. Kavya was alone at home, in her cradle, as her mother had gone to drop her siblings at school, when the monkey struck and dragged her out of the cradle and bit her.
She was taken to the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital and had to get multiple stitches.
Two months ago, the monkey had bitten a 45-day-old baby.
The monkey has attacked more than 30 people at Annai Nagar and neighbouring Rayattai of the Vanur taluk in Villupuram.
It has also mauled more than a dozen pet animals of villagers. “We are fed up with the menace. We have already complained to the authorities and want some action taken immediately,” says Selvaraj B., Kavya’s grandfather.
Kirushanamoorthy, 65, was bitten twice this year, in January and April. “I was sleeping on the floor. My granddaughter was playing nearby. I woke up to see the monkey enter. I sat up to save my granddaughter, and the monkey jumped on to my shoulders and bit my head,” he says.
“If you so much as move a muscle when the monkey is around, it goes into attack mode,” he adds.
Kokilamba, 50, was also bitten on the head. “I was preparing tea. The monkey came in, and seeing me move jumped on my shoulders and bit me. It even drank the tea I had prepared,” she says.
“The monkey also bolted with a bucket of milk after I milked the cow once,” she adds.
Many residents spoke of how the monkey bit their heads and legs, giving them very little time to react. Its primary target appears to be seniors and young children.
Residents say the first attack occurred in the village around two years ago, and the victim was Padmini, 30. “At the time, others made fun of me. Now, it has bitten so many people,” she says. “This monkey has been around for four years. It is only now that it has turned so violent.”
Attempts by Forest Department officials from both Villupuram and Puducherry to catch the monkey have been unsuccessful. Villagers say the officials should have persisted for longer than a few hours. “The officials came too late in the evening, and the monkey ran away,” says Abhimanan, a resident.
The Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust, Ootacamund, also made an attempt in the last week of May. The animal hid itself under a blanket in Kavya’s house while people looked around for it, and later escaped.
Veena, a resident of Salem, who informed the WNCT, says the villagers’ religious belief means no one volunteers to make a complaint. “Each time a complaint was made, the monkey seemed to target the particular person, adding to the villagers’ fears,” she says.
“We have observed that residents feed monkeys. Once a monkey feels it is not getting food, it can turn aggressive. This monkey, an alpha male, is intelligent and has escaped from getting into the cage earlier. If it is not resolved soon, we will try to tranquilise it,” says G. Sathiyamoorthy, Deputy Conservator of Forests.
If the monkey woes are not enough, villagers now face a new stigma. They are branded as people from the village of villain monkey. “While our belief prohibits us from causing harm to the monkey, how long can we put up with this,” asks Selvaraj, a villager.