A rising population of menacing monkeys has become quite the problem for civilians in major cities throughout India, and the conflict has gotten so out of hand that government wildlife officials are looking into putting the primates on the pill, the Telegraph reports.
As the forested areas of the country rapidly disappear due to urbanization, the red-bottomed rhesus macaques (or Bhandar monkey) is forced to rampage cities in search of food, the report notes.
"People can't come out of their houses, they're taking clothes, biting people," professor P.C. Tyagi of the Wildlife Institute of India told the Telegraph of the efforts to curb the growing monkey population. "One of the main advantages [of oral contraception] is that it is non-surgical. We'll look at how it works in other countries, carry out a trial, then we'll go ahead. If there are problems with the dosage, we'd need to work that out."
The animals have been a problem in India for several years. In 2012, for example, the New York Times reported that "the monkey population of Delhi [had] grown so large and aggressive that overwhelmed city officials [had] petitioned India’s Supreme Court to relieve them of the task of monkey control."
Although these types of monkeys excel in human-disturbed environments, their close proximity to bustling city life is likely the cause for the growing conflict between the primate and humans, according to the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In 2008, Hong Kong was experiencing a similar problem with aggressive monkeys and decided to take action on the growing population with birth control. In a four-year study of the contraceptive's effects, the primates' numbers dropped 15 percent, the Agence France-Presse reported.
Officials in Thailand began taking action against a growing monkey population by sterilizing a number of male macaques, Reuters reported in 2009. Vets told the outlet the decision was beneficial to monkeys as well as humans.
"There is not enough food or homes for monkeys," veterinarian Juthamas Sumanam said at the time. "If their numbers increase, people will be in trouble as well as the monkeys."