If only to illustrate the contrast between the cool, sleek Nilgiri langur and the pesky, marauding band of bonnet macaque, I offer this beautiful photographic evidence captured by the one and only Sung, whose telephoto abilities far outstrip my own. Sung was (un)fortunate enough to meet this savvy bunch on the roof of the resort restaurant where he had been pleasantly snapping pics of the local bat population (more on them later, I can assure you, esp. now that Sung is on the case). He called to me from across the property, gesturing wildly, and shouting something along the lines of: ‘There are like a thousand monkeys up here!’ Credulous as ever, I thought perhaps there were in fact a thousand monkeys and sprinted from my seat to witness the fracas. (Un)fortunately, I found a mere twenty-ish, a far more manageable pack than the thousand-strong throng promised me. I looked on rather unimpressed. But the high-pitched excitement in Sung’s voice revealed his fundamental anxiety in the face of his first, true encounter with the MACAQUE.
I’ll let these photos tell the story and you, Dear Reader, can be the judge of mine and Sung’s sanity. After all, I do hate to over-dramatize (can’t you tell?). Still, I feel it is my duty as intern, resident, and world-citizen to present the truth as I see it. I should say, however, that about two nights ago I caught the tail-end of a rather tragic Discovery Channel program about the forced re-location of the macaque from one Indian town. I watched these macaque as they were dragged and tricked into tiny cages where they were slammed one on top of another, and it was all deeply disquieting, and just about made me re-think my position towards these struggling sons and daughters of our Planet Earth. I would sincerely regret my paranoia regarding my grey-haired distant cousins engendering an honest fear. Therefore, I hope that, perhaps, their better qualities will also shine through in these photos.
But besides all that garbage, Sung really took some beautiful photos.