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Monkey thieves, drunk elephants — Mary Roach reveals a bizarre world of animal ‘crime’ : NPR



That is FRESH AIR. I am David Bianculli, professor of tv research at Rowan College in New Jersey, in for Terry Gross. When birds flock close to airports and get sucked into jet engines, or when deer run onto highways and trigger automotive accidents, or when bears wander into cities and campsites the place meals stays are plentiful, they trigger issues for us. In all these instances, after all, the animals are simply following their instincts. They fly. They run. They forage for meals. They search mates. However once they intrude with our lifestyle and break our guidelines, some people, typically individuals in ranger hats and uniforms and lab coats, must attempt to work out one thing to do about it.

Our visitor, science author Mary Roach, has a e book, now out in paperback, in regards to the many conflicts between people and animals, together with bears, elephants, monkeys and mice, and the way totally different societies attempt to cope with them. Roach has a method of dealing with typically uncomfortable topics with knowledge and wit. Amongst her six bestselling books are “Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers” and “Gulp: Adventures On The Alimentary Canal,” a e book about what occurs within the human digestive system from prime to backside. Roach talked to Dave Davies final 12 months, when her e book, known as “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks The Regulation,” first was printed.


DAVE DAVIES: Mary Roach, welcome again to FRESH AIR.

MARY ROACH: Oh, thanks a lot.

DAVIES: , anyone who’s owned a cat is conscious of this battle between pure instincts and guidelines we attempt to impose. What received you interested by this query?

ROACH: Properly, I want I had a tidy origin story. However what occurred was I used to be flailing round searching for a e book subject, as occurs each few years. And I received within the forensics of wildlife crime, not when the animals are the, quote-unquote, “criminals,” however when the animals are the victims. So I used to be – I received within the forensics of animal trafficking, particularly a girl who printed a information for wildlife regulation enforcement on learn how to distinguish actual versus faux tiger penis that’s dried, which is bought medicinally. And I believed, that is sort of a weird experience. And I spoke to her, and I sort of received taken with wildlife forensics. Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to tag alongside on any open instances, and I at all times wish to sort of be on the scene in my books. And in order that was a lifeless finish.

However as typically occurs, it morphed right into a associated subject, which I sort of turned it inside out. What if the animals have been the perpetrators of those crimes? And I am utilizing crimes loosely. They’re clearly simply animals, as you stated, following their intuition. However I received on this discipline, human wildlife battle, which I had by no means heard of. And any time I hear a couple of pocket of science that I’ve by no means heard of earlier than, I get sort of excited. And I feel, perhaps it is a e book. And lo and behold, it grew to become a e book.

DAVIES: And also you traveled many continents researching it (laughter). And I received to say…

ROACH: I did.

DAVIES: …It’s a enjoyable learn. You have got a stunning contact with these items. , you start by telling us of a case within the seventeenth century of some cities in Italy who undertook authorized motion towards caterpillars that have been munching on crops and gardens, really issuing a summons for the caterpillars to point out up and seem in court docket. This really occurred?

ROACH: This really occurred. That is from a – it is a 1906 e book known as “The Prison Prosecution And Capital Punishment Of Animals.” And I initially thought – as a result of it is so weird, I believed, is that this an elaborate hoax? However it’s very well-documented. And the person who wrote it was a scholar and a linguist and has a number of appendices which have the authorized paperwork within the numerous languages of origin, lots of them Latin. And I noticed it’s actual. It’s for actual.

The caterpillars, evidently, didn’t present up in court docket that day, however the magistrates or whoever was in cost went forward with some authorized proceedings and determined, nicely, there will be – there will probably be alternate land put aside for the caterpillars. And, , that took a while to do. By that point, after all, the caterpillars had pupated, have been not consuming the crops. And everyone went away completely satisfied.

And – however the e book is – it is fascinating as a result of there have been, , within the appendix, there will be, like, an expense report filed by the bailiff who saved the pig in jail – the bills of preserving the pig in jail, awaiting trial for killing a baby. There was a trial. The pig was executed. Simply sort of superb, which led me to assume, , OK, the authorized system – in all probability not one of the best ways to cope with these animal-human conflicts. Like, let’s examine what science may convey to bear.

DAVIES: Proper. , it is – what’s fascinating is that, , within the seventeenth century, there wasn’t loads of time to spare for frivolity, I feel. What was the purpose of issuing a summons for caterpillars or…

ROACH: (Laughter).

DAVIES: …Bringing a legal cost towards a pig?

ROACH: Properly, within the case of the caterpillars – and loads of the wildlife – I imply, the pig is – I feel that is a little bit totally different as a result of it is anyone’s pig. In order that’s sort of a…

DAVIES: There is a property curiosity, yeah.

ROACH: Sure. That pig is property. However wild animals are the province of the state. So the way in which that the creator defined it was that this was a method for these magistrates, these leaders to say, we’re so {powerful} that we management even nature. We will resolve these issues as a result of now we have final dominion over nature and over you, the inhabitants. And we’ll step in and be omnipotent. And that was his interpretation. Whether or not or not that is the reply, I do not know. However that was what made a certain quantity of sense as a result of in any other case it sort of is not sensible (laughter).

DAVIES: Proper – planting the flag on this battle. You frolicked with individuals who examine instances of the place hikers or campers might need been attacked – fatally attacked by animals. What kind of issues did you be taught to have a look at? I imply, what did you need to discover within the our bodies?

ROACH: It was a seminar – a coaching seminar for, , individuals who work for wildlife businesses or – which have totally different names up in Canada. A whole lot of these of us have been Canadian as a result of there are such a lot of bears up there. So it was a five-day coaching course for individuals in wildlife businesses principally. And there are loads of fascinating similarities with against the law scene the place a human has killed one other human. In different phrases, the scene of the crime, if you’ll, is taped off. The officers are available. They safe the scene. They’re gathering proof, placing the little proof flags down. They must do it very fastidiously ‘trigger there could also be a bear or a cougar within the area as a result of these animals are inclined to cache their sufferer and grasp round and are available again and feed once more. So they arrive in very fastidiously and well-armed.

However they’re gathering proof. And the very first thing that they are having to determine is – and this isn’t one thing that cops on “CSI” would do. The very first thing they want to determine is, what species killed this individual? Was it a human? Was it a cougar? Was it a wolf? Was it a bear? And so we discovered all of the sort of hallmark telltale indicators of a bear assault versus a cougar assault. And so they kill very in a different way and for various causes. So we discovered all of that. And you then transfer on to really figuring out the person.

And this was superb to me as a result of, , you will have a suspect. In different phrases, in case you trapped an animal on the scene, say a bear, you’d do – you, in case you have been the predator assault specialist, would have a look at the DNA of the animal versus the DNA of the sufferer, and you would be establishing a hyperlink. And if the hyperlink wasn’t there, the suspect is launched. So a few of these bears – there was a case up in Canada the place two bears have been trapped, they usually weren’t the precise bear, they usually have been let go. So it’s – it has these fascinating overlaps with the human jurisprudence system.

DAVIES: Yeah. And that is fascinating as a result of, , we’re not going to rent the bear a lawyer and go to court docket. I imply, what’s the level of – nicely, what do you do when you will have positively recognized that, sure, this bear attacked an individual?

ROACH: Properly, the bear – a bear – on this nation and in Canada, a bear that assaults and kills an individual is destroyed. However the level is to not destroy the incorrect bear, to not simply shoot – like, oh, yeah, we noticed one on the scene, and we shot at it and killed it. There was one case that my group – we broke down into groups, and my staff had a scenario – and these have been based mostly on actual instances – the place a girl known as ‘trigger her fiance had disappeared. Somebody from the sheriff’s division got here out and noticed a wolf, assumed that it was the wolf that had attacked the man and shot the wolf. And it turned out it wasn’t the wolf. It wasn’t a wolf in any respect. It was a bear.

DAVIES: So there’s – it is vital to get the precise creature…

ROACH: Sure.

DAVIES: …And, I assume, the purpose being a bear that assaults as soon as – a human as soon as goes to assault once more, and one which hasn’t attacked a human could not. So…

ROACH: Yeah. There is no motive to – we do not need – we being the general public basically – would not need an animal destroyed – particularly a bear – would not desire a bear destroyed for no motive. So there – and that is beautiful. And I did not essentially count on that every one that work goes towards discovering the precise creature, ensuring that you just’re not destroying an animal with none proof that that animal dedicated the crime, quote-unquote, “crime.”

DAVIES: So give us one of many distinguishing traits of the wound of, say, a bear assault versus a cougar assault on a physique.

ROACH: Bears are inclined to do what they do once they combat amongst themselves, which is that they go for the face. The face is calmly furred, in order that they sort of go tooth to tooth once they combat with one another. And horribly, that’s sort of the place they go first when they’re attacking an individual. So there are loads of wounds to the face and to the higher physique. And there is additionally – due to the – , a cougar is a killing machine. It’s a predator. And it kills for its residing, not like a bear.

Bears are omnivores. They’re consuming nuts and berries and bugs and different issues. So they are not – their tooth aren’t geared up for that sort of fast killing chunk, which is what a cougar does. It leaps from behind typically, does a killing chunk to the neck, sort of severs the spinal wire – very efficient, very clear kill – versus a bear, which is – bear victims, it is a messy state of affairs. A whole lot of sort of chunk, chunk, chunk, sort of – , they have molars for grinding and chewing. They do not – they’re – it is messy, Dave.


DAVIES: Some ugly faux crime scenes you’ve got witnessed, I assume?

ROACH: Yeah.


ROACH: They’d these mushy mannequins that that they had recreated wounds from precise assaults up in Canada and a few within the U.S. So that they had them laid out on tables. And this was – the convention was held, oddly sufficient, in a on line casino exterior Reno. , it sort of rotates 12 months by 12 months. So it was sort of a surreal setting. There was a bingo recreation happening within the subsequent convention room.


DAVIES: Let me reintroduce you. We’ll take one other break right here. We’re talking with Mary Roach. She’s a science author. Her newest e book is “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks The Regulation.” We’ll be again to speak extra after a brief break. That is FRESH AIR.


DAVIES: That is FRESH AIR, and we’re talking with science author Mary Roach. She has a brand new e book about conflicts between individuals and animals and a few crops. It is known as “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks The Regulation.”

So aside from figuring out particular person bears or cougars which will have harmed a human, there’s this normal downside of bears encroaching in upon civilization, which is, after all, I assume, actually, a mirrored image of civilization encroaching upon bears’ habitats. However you visited Aspen, Colo., I feel it was, the place – and talked to individuals on – who must attempt to stop bears from coming into cities and raiding rubbish cans. It was exceptional how resourceful bears might be and discriminating of their pillaging of properties and garages, wasn’t it?

ROACH: It was. It was. There was – one of many girls who investigates this stuff and tries to forestall them – she’s really on the resort Snowmass. She stated that the bears of Pitkin County, they like the premium ice cream manufacturers. They won’t contact Western Household ice cream, which is, I assume, the funds model there (laughter) – simply one thing she’d observed. They’re discriminating. And so they – the wildlife management, the parks and wildlife man that I used to be touring round with on – there was a bear break-in. And we went to the home. And he was speaking about how the bears will – to begin with, French door handles, the constructing code forbids these as a result of it is really easy for a bear to simply push down and push in. Anyone with a paw can do this. So these, you are not supposed to make use of these, even a hole doorknob as a result of the bears can crush – get a grip with their tooth, crush it and switch it.

After which, clearly, routinely opening doorways are an issue. There are bears that stroll into ski resorts and lodges (laughter) simply by way of the automated door – makes it very straightforward. So that they’re very, very resourceful, and typically very delicate of their depredations. He stated – this officer instructed me that they will typically see, , a bear has reached in, taken out a carton of eggs and set it apart. There was one case the place a bear unwrapped a Hershey’s kiss and ate it. That is exhausting for me to imagine, however this man would know – that they will pull a door off its body. However as a substitute of knocking it – , throwing it over the deck, they’re going to simply lean it towards the wall subsequent to the body of the door (laughter). So typically they’re fairly – yeah, they’re fairly resourceful, but in addition typically fairly surprisingly delicate of their – , they’re going to come right into a home on the decrease flooring, go upstairs, by way of the lounge, to the kitchen, not knock something over – simply go straight to the fridge, open it up, take out what they need after which go.

DAVIES: Wow. That sounds so civilized.

ROACH: It does (laughter). It does.

DAVIES: Are individuals much less traumatized by bears that appear to know learn how to go for meals versus be – , be aggressive and able to assault?

ROACH: Sure. And so they’re additionally extra tolerant and fewer prone to name it in, like, to name within the break-in as a result of they’re – they’re going to say – they’re going to simply go searching and go, my God, , he broke in right here, however he did not even break something. So they only – slightly than name – report it to parks and wildlife, they are going to simply let it go. And that is good as a result of in case you do name in and report a bear breaking in and it is – , it is getting that near individuals, that bear – the top level of that’s often that the bear will probably be destroyed, and folks know that. So individuals on this space, loads of them, simply – they do not name in these bear incidents as a result of they do not need the bear destroyed.

DAVIES: Properly, do these bears who who make a behavior of discovering meals, do they find yourself additionally attacking individuals typically?

ROACH: Properly, not – none of them that is been on – it – there was one one dying in Colorado. I feel this 12 months was the primary time in 10 years, I feel, that somebody had been killed by a bear in Colorado. Often what occurs, it is much like when a human breaks right into a home and anyone is residence. Then instantly you’ve got received a defensive burglar and an offended resident. And typically there’s canine. If a canine in the home will get concerned, the bear and the canine go at it, the human tries to intervene. After which you will have one thing known as assault redirection typically, the place the bear may simply activate the individual. And in order that’s a chance. It is fairly uncommon.

It is not – I imply, bears are typically – , they’re crimes of alternative. There’s meals. The bear is attempting to get to the meals. And in case you get in the way in which, for instance, you probably have meals in your tent and a bear breaks into the tent and also you sit up and scream and, , that issues can occur in that state of affairs. So sure, that is, , typically that occurs, but it surely’s surprisingly uncommon given the variety of calls. I imply, there have been – the time I visited Aspen between the time when the bears got here out of hibernation and spring by way of to the top of the summer time, after I was there, 421 calls about bears damaging property, breaking in, stuff like that. However no one had been killed.

DAVIES: However native regulation enforcement and wildlife authorities, they need to do one thing about that. This isn’t factor to have bears routinely transferring by way of city. And, , there are legal guidelines about bear-proof rubbish receptacles, however individuals, eating places violate them on a regular basis. What are the authorities that you just spoke to – what are they attempting to do about this?

ROACH: Yeah. It looks as if it might be fairly easy and easy. You get bear-resistant containers, so the bears aren’t prone to come into city and go after meals as a result of they can not get. It appears fairly simple. However the issue is that typically you may have one dumpster with a number of eating places sharing it, enormous numbers of workers coming in, dropping baggage in. They’re in a rush. They don’t seem to be essentially remembering or caring to close the container, the dumpster. So loads of occasions they’re left unlocked. A whole lot of occasions they’re broken and never fastened. I used to be in an alley late at evening, 3 within the morning in Aspen, behind a bunch of eating places. And there have been damaged containers.

There was a – we got here throughout two bears having a stunning meal of, , sustainable Skuna Bay salmon and different issues from one of many eating places. And even, , down the alley away, there was a kind of huge grease deposits the place individuals empty the cooking grease. And the researcher that I used to be with stated he’d seen, , bear prints and grease main away from that. Like, they’re simply utilizing it as a ingesting fountain as a result of a bear, , bear’s trying – particularly earlier than hibernation – for a concentrated supply of energy. So that they’re – like, that is nice. It is much less work than wandering round searching for, , berries and acorns.

So – however the issue is also enforcement. Like, you – what number of – all these eating places or in a condominium growth, a number of individuals sharing the identical rubbish container. While you challenge the tremendous, the ticket – who does it go to? And the way do they – how are you aware, , how – to allow them to say, , it wasn’t me. How are you aware? Proper? I at all times shut that factor. In order that’s an issue – enforcement. Additionally, the, , it is a small police division. They do not actually have loads of personnel. So – to be patrolling takes time. And so it is simply not as easy.

Then trip. But additionally, these are – loads of these are trip leases. So individuals coming in for a weekend, they do not know. They do not perceive the state of affairs with bears or that you just’re placing the bear at risk of being destroyed by leaving your rubbish out and, , attracting the bears. In order that’s an issue additionally.

DAVIES: So if authorities have bother controlling human conduct, the trash goes to be on the market. They clearly focus typically on the bears. What can they do or is there something they’ll do to discourage the bears from coming in? Or do they seize them and relocate them? What do they do?

ROACH: You may attempt to translocate the bear. I imply, you may relocate, simply type of put it again within the nearest wilderness, or you may transfer it farther afield. The factor is that bears are excellent at discovering their method again. I feel the file is 142 miles discovering their method again to their residence terrain. So that they’re excellent at that. And the opposite challenge is that if you translocate a bear to a unique wilderness space and it – you, being an company – and that bear finally ends up locally closest to that wilderness space and it begins doing the identical factor, breaking into trash and houses, now you, the company, that put the bear there are legally accountable. And so there have been – and there have been lawsuits. And that is one discouraging issue.

BIANCULLI: Mary Roach chatting with Dave Davies final 12 months. Her newest e book, “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks The Regulation,” is now out in paperback. We’ll proceed their dialog after a break. And movie critic Justin Chang will evaluation Blonde, the brand new film about Marilyn Monroe based mostly on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates. I am David Bianculli, and that is FRESH AIR.


BIANCULLI: That is FRESH AIR. I am David Bianculli, in for Terry Gross. Let’s get again to our interview with science author Mary Roach, who’s written six bestselling books. Her newest offers with conflicts between people and animals, reminiscent of bears, cougars, elephants, monkeys, deer and others – and some crops. The e book is named “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks The Regulation,” and it is now out in paperback. She talked with Dave Davies final 12 months.


DAVIES: You went to India, the place elephants is usually a downside. A whole bunch of individuals a 12 months in India are killed by elephants. I imply, I assume that is, as is so typically the case, induced partially by elephant habitat being restricted, as – , as human civilization advances. Is there a typical method that persons are killed by elephants?

ROACH: Sure, there’s. Such as you stated, their land is being encroached upon. And India is a really populous nation. And there have been navy bases and roads and communities of refugees. And that a part of India the place the elephants roam, the elephant hall, has grow to be sort of damaged up. And so these elephants typically get caught. They name them pocketed elephants, which is a time period – I like to image an elephant in a pocket (laughter).

DAVIES: Yeah, in a pocket. Sure.

ROACH: They’re pocketed elephants. So that they’re sort of trapped on this patch of land. And elephants, they’re social animals. They transfer round in teams. And so they eat loads of meals. They’re very huge animals. So they begin working out of meals, they usually are inclined to look to farmers’ fields. So think about you are a villager. And you’ve got put the crops in. They’re beginning to be prepared to reap. And this group of elephants is available in and, to begin with, tramples loads of it and likewise begins to eat your bounty there. That is an upsetting factor. It typically occurs at evening.

So you’ve got received individuals from the village working out, perhaps with fireplace on a stick, , or loud noises, simply attempting to scare them off in a method that is fairly chaotic. And so you will have elephants freaked out and panicked. And you’ve got individuals working round and screaming at the hours of darkness. And as my mom preferred to say, anyone goes to get damage. And that’s how that occurs ceaselessly. The elephant – , elephants aren’t preying on individuals. They don’t seem to be stalking them and killing them. However they’re massive. And also you simply must get knocked over or stepped on, and you may be killed. So that’s typically the way in which it goes down.

DAVIES: Proper. Proper. It is not a trivial factor for a farmer to lose a 3rd of his crop to elephants. So it is comprehensible that they might react in an aggressive method. It is fascinating that many of those deaths are accidentally. And also you write that there’s a grotesque technique to distinguish individuals who’ve been killed by accident by an elephant from those that might need been killed deliberately.

ROACH: Sure. This was – one of many elephant response staff leaders stated – as a result of they arrive in and do a sort of a forensics much like what we have been speaking about earlier with American wildlife. They are going to have a look at the sufferer. And he stated if an elephant has the intent of killing somebody, it is going to be in items. I imply, the way in which an elephant feeds, , it’s going to wrap its, , type of trunk round a department and type of pull off the leaves. It is a pure conduct to sort of seize one thing and pull. So apparently, that occurs.

DAVIES: Actually pull an individual aside? Proper.

ROACH: There is a record of 5 – 6 other ways. That was – that one sort of stayed with me. However, I imply, they might stomp on somebody. Or – I imply, there’s different ways in which they’ll do it. However that’s type of distinctive to the elephant.

DAVIES: Yeah. It is fascinating that you just write that inebriation is an issue with farmers who could attempt to run elephants off, but in addition with the elephants themselves.

ROACH: Yeah. Elephants wish to drink. That is one thing else that stunned me about elephants. They notably go after – there is a homebrew, sort of a fermented drink known as haaria – H-A-A-R-I-A. And elephants take pleasure in that very a lot. And it is fairly aromatic. To allow them to scent it inside a house. So individuals will attempt to convey it inside, , considering – to maintain it protected from the elephants, which is a really dangerous concept as a result of an elephant can very simply take down the wall of the construction to get at this fermented drink. And elephants, once they get drunk, they’re, for essentially the most half, not a imply drunk. However typically if it is a male elephant in musth, which is sort of a interval of hormonal tumult, you do not need to be round a drunk male elephant in musth as a result of they are often very aggressive. In any other case, they have an inclination to sort of wander away and wrap their trunk round themselves, one research reported, and simply, , sleep it off.

DAVIES: Once they’re drunk? Wow.

ROACH: Once they’re drunk, yeah.

DAVIES: A few of the most colourful tales on this e book contain – that is additionally in India. The rhesus macaque monkeys – am I saying this correctly? – these cute, plentiful monkeys, I imply, actually plentiful in some elements of India. What sort of issues do they create?

ROACH: Properly, they’re very mischievous. And they’ll seize issues from individuals. They sort of (laughter) do that superb maneuver the place they are going to stick up and seize your sun shades or your cellphone. So far as I do know, monkeys, they aren’t utilizing the cellphone. They’re holding it hostage, mainly. And folks know that in case you method, then, with a bit of fruit or a deal with of some type, the monkey will take that fruit and hand you again your sun shades or your cellphone or your keys, no matter you had in your hand. So that they’re fairly slick, these monkeys. There’s been…



ROACH: Yeah.

DAVIES: The monkey rackets. Wow.

ROACH: Yeah, I do know. So there was sort of a weird epidemic of individuals falling to their deaths from balconies as a result of macaques – they usually’re often in a bunch, a troupe – they arrive down from the roof. And so they bounce onto a balcony. The individual is startled or tries to maintain them from entering into the home, the condo, , by way of the window. Both they lose their footing and fall or the monkeys push them. It is sort of unclear. However a number of – there are one thing like 5 deaths of individuals falling off of balconies as a result of monkeys had jumped down onto the balcony in an effort to get into the condo and ransack it for meals. So they are not simply pesky, they’re really, in some instances, killing. However they’re a little bit unnerving. I used to be mugged by a macaque whereas I used to be there, and it’s a little unnerving. I imply, I…

DAVIES: You have been mugged by a macaque? How did this occur?

ROACH: I used to be sort of asking for it. I walked up this path the place I knew there have been loads of macaques. And I walked up holding a bag of bananas. I simply needed to see what would occur. I used to be curious, ? Nothing occurred for some time. And I am strolling alongside. And instantly, this little head pops up from behind a boulder. And I used to be like, there he’s, uh-oh – sort of just like the bandits ready for the stagecoach. So this head type of pops up. And this monkey steps into my path. And I cease. And I am like, OK, that is it. However then, in the meantime, there’s been one behind me on the opposite aspect, runs – darts out into the path and grabs the bag and takes off. And I do not know in the event that they have been a staff, like, I am going to distract her and also you seize the bananas. I do not know if that is what was happening or whether or not they have been competing bandits. However anyway, I received mugged.

DAVIES: You have been relieved shortly of the bananas you had introduced.

ROACH: (Laughter) I used to be. I used to be. Yeah.

DAVIES: Yeah. , one of many fascinating issues about that is that these are in cities and villages the place these monkeys roam in bands and go to seek out meals. And so they’re in all probability extra prone to be in locations the place prosperous individuals dwell as a result of there’s extra vegetation and bushes round their residences, proper?

ROACH: Sure.

DAVIES: What are a few of the issues that extra prosperous individuals do to cope with this challenge?

ROACH: They are going to rent what’s known as a monkey walla, who’s anyone who has a langur. A langur is a much bigger, burlier monkey that’s sort of scary for macaques. So they are going to typically rent a langur man who simply patrols with a langur. However that is really unlawful now as a result of it is towards the Wildlife Safety Act. It is not honest to the langurs.

DAVIES: I need to simply set the image right here. It is a langur on a leash, proper?

ROACH: Sure.

DAVIES: Proper. So it is sort of like you will have your muscle.

ROACH: Yeah.

DAVIES: And you’ve got anyone who’s strolling round with a langur on a leash. And does it do the trick? I imply…

ROACH: It’s fairly efficient. However now they must do it surreptitiously. And the girl that I spoke to, who’s a – she’s an legal professional there who works within the space of attempting to get town to do one thing about monkeys – she lives in an prosperous neighborhood. And he or she stated she goes to the identical membership the place Prime Minister Modi goes, and the monkeys are getting within the swimming pool. She stated they have been within the halls of Parliament. They arrive into the courts. (Laughter) They arrive – they usually’re throughout.

DAVIES: Inform the story in regards to the hospital, them coming into the hospital and pulling out the IVs. That is superb.

ROACH: This legal professional instructed me a narrative of a macaque that will go into the All India Medical Institute, I imagine it was known as, and run into rooms and pull out the IV if anyone was getting, , glucose – a glucose drip – and suck on the needle prefer it was a popsicle type of (laughter). This was sort of a tremendous stunt for a monkey. They’re creative. However the – going again to what I needed to say, it is unlawful to make use of now the langurs. However some prosperous individuals will do it illegally. However they’re going to additionally – you may rent anyone to go round and have the langur simply urinate on the house, just like the scent of urine. And there was this nice quote. I feel it was in The Occasions – in The New York Occasions – the man saying, I’ve 65 langurs urinating on outstanding properties.


DAVIES: So it is a enterprise. You are the langur pee man.

ROACH: Yeah…

DAVIES: Oh, wow.

ROACH: …Precisely. Town itself, New Delhi, educated some males to impersonate langurs, not in a fancy dress, though some media stated that they have been in a fancy dress. They have been very adept at doing the calls of langurs, which might scare the macaques away. So they might wander by way of these prosperous neighborhoods making macaque calls. So there’s been loads of fascinating and inventive efforts.

DAVIES: Yeah, sort of strikes me as a factor that is not going to make a everlasting distinction – proper? – in case you can (inaudible)…

ROACH: Precisely.

DAVIES: …Giving a screaming langur name round you, it is OK for some time. However ultimately, the monkeys sense the all clear and are available again, proper?

ROACH: Yeah. They name your bluff fairly quick.

DAVIES: Let me reintroduce you once more. We’ll take one other break right here. We’re talking with science author Mary Roach. Her new e book is “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks The Regulation.” We’ll proceed our dialog in only a second. That is FRESH AIR.


DAVIES: That is FRESH AIR, and we’re talking with science author Mary Roach. She has a brand new e book about conflicts between people and animals and a few crops and the way people are attempting to cope with them. The identify of the e book is “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks The Regulation.”

We’ve got loads of points with birds. (Inaudible) there are loads of birds. There are birds that, , feed on crops and, , farm meals and all that. And it is fascinating that you just write that previously, there have been instances of individuals utilizing navy {hardware} to really attempt to cope with this downside. There was some years in Australia the place emus have been an issue for farmers, they usually really received the navy to come back out and use machine weapons on them. How did that work?

ROACH: Yeah. I like this story as a result of the emus received. There was a bunch of farmers in Western Australia – I feel 1932 – who have been coping with massive mobs of emus that will are available and feast on their grain, their wheat. And so they contacted the navy and first requested, can we borrow some machine weapons? And the navy stated, no (laughter), you can not borrow our machine weapons. Nonetheless, we’ll ship Normal Meredith and his males, and they’re going to care for the issue.

So Normal Meredith reveals up with a coterie of machine gunners who set themselves up, waited for the emus to come back. Emus have been excellent at not ever actually getting inside vary. Additionally they appeared to have the ability to stand up to the bullets. I feel they weren’t withstanding them, but it surely appeared to Normal Meredith that these birds have been invincible. He was really fairly awed by their capability to resist this onslaught of bullets. I feel the boys have been simply not excellent goals. However in the long run, Normal Meredith withdrew together with his machine gunners, and the issue continued for the farmers. The emus – mainly, the emus received.

DAVIES: , there’s this downside with birds round airports entering into, , flight paths of takeoff and touchdown. And also you found that there is a nationwide Wildlife Strike Database, which tracks how typically birds of assorted varieties encounter plane and the outcomes. What did you discover there?

ROACH: Properly, it tends to be, as you may count on, the large birds which are – nicely, I ought to – I take that again. It is both the large birds or the birds that journey in huge flocks, that are sort of like avian krill. I imply, it is like a giant flock, and also you’re heading into it. You are going to ingest some birds. Hopefully that won’t be an issue. I imply, the jet engines are examined. Like, birds are launched, shall we embrace, into the engine to ensure that it might stand up to a certain quantity of chicken. So it tends to be pelicans, vultures, hawks, the large ones, , the – Canada geese there was the important thing was Canada geese that have been concerned in Sully Sullenberger’s historic flight. And it’s not going to be a chickadee (laughter).

DAVIES: Properly, I simply observed that. I imply, that is type of the depth of the info right here – 27 documented instances of chickadee strikes by plane, none inflicting injury. In order that was one thing.


DAVIES: What is the newest serious about what to do about this? I imply, birds are there. They fly.

ROACH: Properly, birds, I imply, there’s methods to – you may maintain them out of the realm. , there’s methods to – one of many issues is that airports are sometimes out on the fringes of an city space, sort of in wetlands. So it is it is good territory for birds.

DAVIES: , the e book ends on a extremely refreshing observe. You have been writing about how rodents might be issues for farmers as a result of they get into their barns and corrals and eat meals for livestock and no matter. And also you go to a man named Roger (ph) who’s a fairly large rancher, proper? He raises cattle each for dairy and beef. Inform us about his expertise together with his mice.

ROACH: Properly, certain. Yeah, Roger ran a feedlot out in Colorado, feedlot being individuals shipped their cattle to him, and he raises the cattle in keeping with what they’re going to be used for – meat or milk or breeding extra cattle. So he has huge quantities of grain and corn and issues that mice additionally wish to eat. And so I imagined that Roger can be an fascinating individual to speak to about his perspective towards these rodents and what he does. I ended up there as a result of Roger’s feedlot is the place the Nationwide Wildlife Analysis Middle goes once they want wild mice for any analysis tasks. So – yeah.

And Roger was under no circumstances what I anticipated. , I pointed to those mounds of – I do not know if it was barley or hops or, , mouse-attracting substances, main piles of them. And I stated, you simply will need to have this plague of mice. I imply, how a lot do you – how do you cope with that? And he stated, nicely, these items is available in 15-ton heaps. And if a mouse eats 5 kilos of it, I am not even going to note. The wind in all probability blows away greater than that. So it is not likely a problem. No, he was simply very – and there have been birds type of flying round additionally overhead. And I stated, do you do something in regards to the birds? And he stated, nicely, it is seasonal. It is – you may rent individuals to shoot at them and scare them, however they only come again anyway. So it isn’t – it is simply not that huge a deal.

And I assume I simply love that, , he – and he additionally stated, I’ve received – we have got owls, barn owls. We have got cats. In order that, , takes care of a few of the downside. Foxes come and eat the mice. So it is all OK. He was simply very laid again about it. And he had the sort of perspective the place mainly he was, , practising a, , a pure type of pest management together with his cats and his foxes and his barn owls. However he was, , he is huge ag. , he is a man who raises cattle for big, , like Cargill and a few of these massive operations. And the truth that he was keen to coexist with the mice – and there have been fairly a couple of mice. You’d go into the machine room there and also you’d see them scurrying alongside the partitions. Simply the truth that he had that willingness to coexist.

DAVIES: Properly, Mary Roach, thanks a lot for talking with us once more.

ROACH: Oh, my pleasure. Thanks a lot.

BIANCULLI: Science author Mary Roach chatting with Dave Davies final 12 months. Her newest e book, “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks The Regulation,” is now out in paperback. Developing, movie critic Justin Chang evaluations “Blonde,” the brand new film about Marilyn Monroe based mostly on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates. That is FRESH AIR.


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