A gang of monkeys in India attacked a laboratory technician this week before making off with blood samples from patients with COVID-19.
Reuters reports: The attack occurred this week when a laboratory technician was walking in the campus of a state-run medical college in Meerut, 460 km (285 miles) north of Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh state. “Monkeys grabbed and fled with the blood samples of four COVID-19 patients who are undergoing treatment … we had to take their blood samples again,” said Dr S. K. Garg, a top official at the college. Authorities said they were not clear if the monkeys had spilled the blood samples, but people living near the leafy campus feared further spread of the virus if the monkeys carried the samples into residential areas.
More from Sky News: One of the monkeys was later spotted in a tree chewing one of the sample collection kits, the Times of India reported – adding that test samples from the patients had to be taken again. It is the latest example of the highly intelligent, red-faced rhesus macaques taking advantage of India’s nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus. While they have proved an increasing problem in urban areas of the country in recent years, lockdown measures in the last two months are believed to have emboldened the monkeys.
According to a 2017 report from BBC, some monkeys like to hold items for ransom until they’re provided with the perfect food.
From Treehugger.com: Flip-flops, hats, glasses and even phones – nothing is safe when it comes to the little monkey jerks at the Uluwatu temple in Bali. The swiftness with which the resident long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) swoop in and snatch the sandal off a child or the glasses straight off the face is commendable to be sure, if not a bit terrifying to the unsuspecting victim. But even more surprising is the cunning with which they barter the return of stolen goods. Soft banana? Swat. Fruit in a bag? Swat, growl. Peanuts? Swat, chew on glasses. It’s not until a favored food is offered that the monkey will grab the item and leave the ransomed item behind.
Watch BBC’s report below.