Monkeys Captured After Killing 250 Dogs in 'Revenge' Killings in Indian Town

Two monkeys have been captured by authorities in India after they killed around 250 dogs in "revenge" attacks following the death of a baby monkey.

Officials with the forest department from the Beed district of Maharashtra state said the monkeys were trapped on Sunday and released in their natural habitat. "Two monkeys involved in the killing of many puppies have been captured by a Nagpur Forest Department team in Beed," Sachin Kand, Beed forest officer, told India's ANI news agency.

The monkeys were transported to a forest near Nagpur where they were released. Images released by ANI show the monkeys caged after being captured.

Radhakishan Sonawane, from Lavool village, told the website the attacks had been happening for three months, with the two monkeys taking away puppies and placing them on roofs or other places high up.

"At such heights, these puppies don't get any food or water. Hence they died naturally many times. But sometimes they fell from a height and died. Over 200 puppies had lost their lives in our village," Sonawane told Press Trust India (PTI).

Some monkey species are known to practice revenge, either directly or indirectly. In 2017, researchers published a study that looked at the social interactions of macaques. They analyzed 500 hours of video, including 15,000 episodes of aggression. They found monkeys tracked their associates' behavior and would carry out revenge.

Whether the monkeys in Beed district were killing dogs for revenge is unclear however.

Range Forest Officer Amol Munde said he was aware of three to four cases of puppies dying after being taken by two monkeys in Lavool. He said he was not aware of dogs killing a baby monkey in the village, so does not believe the deaths were retaliatory in nature. "They take care of puppies. They used to keep puppies on roofs or tall trees," he told News18.

"The puppies couldn't survive at such places as they couldn't get food or water. If a puppy escaped from the two monkeys it used to die after falling from a height."

Villagers had become concerned that after the monkeys had killed off most of the dogs, they were going to start attacking children. Munde said people had been injured while fleeing from the pair of monkeys.

"Monkeys generally don't attack human beings but people are afraid. Some people were injured in the past few days while running away from these monkeys. However, no incident of any monkey bite was reported in this village," he told News18.

Gray or Hanuman langurs
Stock image of Gray or Hanuman langurs in India. Two monkeys that had been killing dogs have been captured by authorities in Maharashtra state. Getty Images