Authorities in India are suspicious about the deaths of 18 male and 6 female monkeys whose corpses were found piled by the side of a road.
The deaths did not appear to be natural, according to news reports of the incident.
Officials continue to investigate the matter, but no new details appear to have emerged two weeks after the Jan 25 report
The incident occurred a few miles from the town of Tiruchirappalli in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Formerly known in English as Trichinopoly, it is the fourth largest city in the state. There are an estimated 15 species of monkeys in India and the victims were not specifically indentified. There are a number of species of langurs and macaques.
Investigators are not certain where the monkeys were killed and there is suspicion they were caged prior to the deaths.
Monkeys have a special place in Hindu life as they are sacred to the Hindu god Hanuman. In India, Hanuman is revered as the companion of Rama and commander of the monkey army. He is an important character in the Ramayana. In China, the Monkey King, living on Flower and Fruit Mountain, also has a dedicated army of monkeys and is a companion to Buddhist leaders. He is a key character in the novel Journey to the West Both Hanuman and the Monkey King are good at spotting and destroying demons. Recently, an estimated 1,500 people attended a funeral for a revered monkey in India. The monkey was honored with a funeral procession and a feast.
The sacred status of monkeys does not preclude conflict with humans. Recently, Indian monkeys reportedly hurled dogs from high points to their deaths, and began to threaten humans.