Monkeys attacked a village in Indonesia Monday evening, injuring seven people, with one of those residents left in critical condition after being severely bitten. The attack is unusual for the primates, who most times do not approach humans unless being fed.
The wild monkeys attacked a village called Toddand Pulu in the Sidendeng Rappang district in South Sulawesi province, the Associated Press reported. At least 10 monkeys burst out of the Toddang Lowa forest about seven kilometers from the village and began their rampage, said Ambo Ella, a spokesman from the district.
The primates broke into people's homes, attacking residents at random. Soon, a panic spread as villagers realized what was happening. A 16-year-old boy in the vicinity of the monkeys was bitten badly and had to be hospitalized because of the incident. He remains in critical condition.
While initial reports suggested that the monkeys were forced out of the forest by humans- destruction of habitats has endangered some of Indonesia's 33 species of primates, including the well-known orangutan- Ella denied that the attack was because of human interference.
Ella acknowledged that the Toddang Lowa forest was still used by the To Lotang, an indigenous people, for forest rituals. The local residents did not cause the attack, according to Ella.
While officials still struggle to explain what seems to be an unprovoked monkey attack, in other regions of the world, the primates are much more aggressive. In Delhi, India, for example, monkeys regularly mug people, snatch their food, and break into their homes.
"Monkeys do commonly bite people, and their bite wounds can be extensive," Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md. Told The New York Times. "They are smart enough to often attack the face of the person."
The reason is that the Hindu religion stipulates that monkeys, servants of the god Hanuman, must be fed on Tuesdays and Saturdays. India has one of the largest Hindu populations in the world with 800 million people practicing.
In Indoneisa, Islam is far more popular, with over 85 percent practicing. They do have a Hindu population as well, however.