Dozens of monkeys searching for water drown in well as heatwave scorches India

Intense heatwave has killed hundreds of people, with temperatures rising to 50C

Stuti Mishra
Thursday 06 June 2024 09:36 BST
Related: People mob a water truck as heat wave scorches northern India

Dozens of monkeys trying to quench their thirst drowned in a well in eastern India as the country continued to battle a scorching heatwave that has dried up many water bodies.

At least 32 monkeys were found dead in an irrigation well in Sorath village of Jharkhand state, where temperatures have been hovering above 45 degrees Celsius, local forest officials said this week.

The troop of monkeys jumped into the well looking for water but could not climb out.

“Sources of water in the area have almost dried up,” forest officer Kumar Ashish told news agency PTI. “Wild animals are coming to villages to quench their thirst ... these monkeys apparently drowned during their bid to quench their thirst.”

Their bodies were found this week and forest officials said they are investigating the cause.

Nearly half of India has been reeling under an unprecedented heatwave with temperatures rising to 50C in the capital Delhi and nearby regions.

The country has reported hundreds of deaths from heatstroke, although the government is yet to confirm the figures.

The searing heat is also affecting wildlife with animals coming out to villages in search of water.

A few days ago, three jackals wandering in search of water in Chainpur forest, also in Jharkhand, died in a well.

In the southern state of Telangana, fish died en masse after water got dangerously hot. In the northern city of Lucknow, a horse carrying luggage collapsed and died on the road.

Stray dogs have been seen collapsing from heat, some with their heads stuck in bottles desperately searching for water, local media reported.

People suffering from heatstroke are treated in a hospital in Ballia in the northern Uttar Pradesh state
People suffering from heatstroke are treated in a hospital in Ballia in the northern Uttar Pradesh state (AP)

India’s heatwaves have been getting more intense and lasting longer in the past few years due to the climate crisis, several scientific assessments have found.

The situation is especially dire this year. “This could be the worst summer in the last 120 years, at least for north India,” Vimal Mishra, professor of Earth Sciences at IIT Gandhinagar, told news agency PTI last week.

A court has urged the Indian government to declare a national emergency, noting that hundreds of people have died due to the extreme weather.

This summer has also brought record-breaking temperatures to the rest of Asia and the last 12 months have been the hottest on record for the planet.

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