Fans fear Trump may be attacked by aggressive monkeys during India visit: 'It will be a disaster'
While the US leader will have the elite protection of the Secret Service during his February 24 visit, locals fear a large swarm of monkeys could break through the security
Some Indian fans of President Donald Trump are worried the US leader could be ambushed by monkeys when he visits the Taj Mahal next week.
According to a report by India Today, security guards at India's most famous landmark have been using catapults to fend off monkeys who harass tourists on a regular basis. While the US leader will have the elite protection of the Secret Service during his February 24 visit, locals fear a large swarm of monkeys could break through the security.
"If such a large troop of monkeys attacks Donald Trump's entourage, it will be a disaster," one local resident told the outlet.
Furthermore, the use of catapults would be "completely ineffective" against a large gang of monkeys, according to one member of the Central Industrial Security Force, which guards the monument.
The same resident who feared a "disaster" claimed to the outlet that sterilization measures against the monkeys had failed despite an extensive $260,000 effort by local officials. "The terror of the monkeys is so pervasive that women and children are scared of going up on the roof of their houses, which have almost been taken over by monkeys," he said.
Having said that, it is believed the local forestry department has been tasked with keeping the monkeys at bay during Trump's visit.
As of now, there are roughly 500 to 700 macaques living in the vicinity of the heritage monument. According to the report, the animals often forage for food near the entrance, where visitors bags are searched and any food items found are discarded prior to entry.
Two French tourists who visited the Taj Mahal in May 2018 were injured by monkeys while they were taking selfies. What's more? The animals are becoming more aggressive as their natural habitats continue to be encroached, experts say.
Last year, Brij Bhushan, head of the Taj Mahal security force, said police were using locally made slingshots to deal with the monkeys.
"We found that monkeys get scared by just seeing us brandishing these slingshots," he said at the time.
Trump will be leaving for his first official trip to India on Monday while negotiators on both sides work on an extensive trade deal. After China, the United States is India's next largest trade partner. In 2018, their goods and services trade hit an unprecedented record of $142.6 billion.