A driver in India who swerved to avoid a monkey in the middle of the road crashed their car through a railing and sent it toppling down a steep slope, CCTV footage showed.
The incident took place in the popular tourist destination of Shimla, in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, on Sunday.
The car was carrying a family visiting from Delhi, who have not been identified, when it swerved out of control and could be seen breaking the railing on the side of the road and crashing into the car park of a hotel.
All the three people inside the car, including a four-year-old, survived the ordeal, reported news channel NDTV.
The video shows two men who were walking down the street at the time of the incident immediately running towards the vehicle to help the passengers. A large crowd quickly gathers as people try to pull the passengers out from the stricken car, which landed upside down.
Monkeys are visible on the streets of Shimla in large numbers and can be a cause of trouble to locals and tourists alike. Increasing man-made activities across the state, including rapidly increasing real estate activities and industry, have diminished the habitats available to monkey species like rhesus macaques, resulting in a rise in human-animal conflict.
Macaques in particular are unafraid of humans, and known for snatching food from people and at times attacking them. Visitors to temples around Shimla are advised by guides to keep a close eye on their valuables — but not because of human pickpockets.
One Twitter user filmed an “expert” monkey, in a video uploaded last year, near a temple in Himachal Pradesh snatching a woman’s spectacles and climbing up a tree.
The monkey drops the glasses only after an onlooker tosses “prasad”, or a devotional food offering, towards it.
To curb the monkey “menace”, the state government had requested the federal government to declare rhesus macaques to be “vermin”.
The federal government, which had agreed to the same demand from the state government in 2016, refused to do so this year, according to a Hindustan Times report.
Once the monkeys are put in the “vermin” category, forest authorities get the power to cull them in order to prevent man-animal conflict and crop depredation.
According to a 2020 census, Himachal Pradesh has a monkey population of 136,443.
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