More than 70 monkeys have been killed in India since last week.
The bodies were found by villagers and police officers in three areas of the Agra District.
Preliminary investigations revealed the animals were poisoned. Many bodies are scheduled for an autopsy examination to determine exactly what happened.
“For so many monkeys to go down in such a short span of time, it must have been poison. They showed symptoms of that – excess salivation, seizures, respiratory distress,” explained a forest official.
Some villagers believe a gang was hired to kill the monkeys which are considered a menace.
Inspector Sudhir Kumar said: “For the first time, we have had something like this in this area. It is possible that the monkeys were killed somewhere else and the carcasses disposed of here. It is possible that given the monkey menace in Agra, someone had poisoned them. An FIR has been registered under sections of IPC dealing with cruelty to animals.”
Animal rights activists say authorities are not taking the problem seriously and are not investigation properly. No arrests have been made so far.
Another 10 monkeys were found dead by visitors in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park on Saturday.
Two of them were actually still alive but were seen having seizures and died shortly after.
Member of the Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare Dhairya Gada said: “One of the witnesses told me that one of the monkeys that was still alive was having seizures and its skin had turned blue. It was trying to get up but couldn’t. The eyes were swollen. Based on the account, and the photographs the trekkers showed us, the monkeys were young and looked healthy otherwise. This indicates that they might have been poisoned. Moreover, a few crows that were probably feeding on the bodies were also found dead. Ten monkeys cannot just die at the same time.”
A search team was quickly sent by park officials but no bodies were found. Another search team couldn’t find them either on the next day.