Villagers from Karnataka’s Surashettikoppa recently gave a monkey, who died of electrocution, a human-like burial. The female langur came into contact with a live electric wire in the village. According to a Times Now report, the villagers performed the last rites for the monkey and also took out a mourning procession. The Times of India reported that the primate was cremated as per Hindu rituals. “We garlanded the monkey, paid our respects, carried it in a procession, and cremated it near a Hanuman temple in their village as per Hindu rituals generally performed during the last rites of a human,” Shankarayya Hiremath, a farmer in the village, was quoted as saying. The locals also went on to take care of the two bereaved monkey cubs. Initially, the cubs refused to move away from their mother’s body.
Kalghatgi range forest officer Shrikant Patil said they received information on the death of the monkey on Monday evening. The monkey cubs, who seemed to be seven to eight years old, did not suffer any injuries even though they fell from a height along with their deceased mother, Patil said. The cubs were kept under observation for a couple of days before being freed into the forest area near Tambur village. Tambur has a sizeable population of common langurs.
Surashettikoppa Gram Panchayat president Santosh Hosamani was quoted as saying that it had been raining when the mourning procession was taken out, and they had to wait for forest officials to reach the spot to take away the monkey cubs. That was why the procession that took the deceased monkey up to the Hanuman temple was not big in proportion. After the cubs were taken away by forest officials, the rituals for the monkey were conducted and it was buried near the temple thereafter. Hosamani said it was a heartbreaking incident.
The incident first came to light when a video of the villagers trying to separate the cubs from their mother’s body went viral on social media platforms. The Surashettikoppa village locals’ act has been appreciated for being a rare gesture of empathy towards animals.