Sunday, August 29, 2010

note the pattern, take the lesson...,

For a gang of monkeys making their home at the Galta Temple in the Indian city of Jaipur, it was an easy life — lounge by the sacred pool, groom your friends and accept handouts from worshippers paying respect to the Hindu Monkey God Hanuman. But their happy days are numbered. When a lingering drought threatens local food supplies, the monkeys face an end to their easy gravy train.

There were 3 bathing pools in the temple and it was decided to close 2 down and drain them because of draught conditions. This meant that only one gate to the temple would remain open and there would be a dramatic reduction in the number of food-bearing visitors allowed in.

Within a couple of days of the visitor number and corresponding food-offering reduction for the monkeys - the troop of about 80 split into two equal sized groups. The first group lead by the original matriarch, her family and other monkeys of appropriate size and status forced the other group to split off by attacking them and then took up a position by the only open gate to aquisition the food that was still comming in.

The splinter group made up of mostly smaller monkeys were not allowed to come near the open gate and within a day were forced to move from the temple to the nearby town in search of food. This was a high risk strategy because danger of injury or being caught was increased.

Violently enforced dispersal strategies are common among social primate species when dealing with scarce resources and on an evolutionary level its an old solution to the problem.