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Monkeys Using Cash to Buy Bananas
It’s thought to be the first time the cheeky primates have fully understood the concept of hard currency and has come as a huge surprise to primatologists.
‘We know primates live in complex social systems – where favours beget favours’ says Irene Burnham of the Scottish Primate Institute.
‘Here we have a clear cut case of animals carrying cash for business'.
Locals are finding the goings on a little more amusing.
‘The monkeys have been watching tourists for years’ laughs Estiffy Lobo, a fruit market trader near Dudhsagar water falls, a popular tourist destination in Goa.
‘We see them pinch fruit and naan all the time. I once saw a Fibblepipi (mother monkey) steal some orangina and escape on roller-skates, but this is something really unusual’.
The clever monkeys have watched tourists shopping from up high in the tree tops and have concluded that buying fruit with cash gets more fruit and is safer than ‘grab and dash’ stealing.
Monkeys approach the stalls and leave money on the table and then the remarkable part - the fruit traders happily exchange fruit in return for the stolen cash.
Local Government officials have said there are big fines to any market trader who accepts payment from monkeys (known locally as ‘MonkLetting’).
But according to Mrs Lobo stall holders actually prefer to do business with monkeys as the naughty apes haven’t yet understood the concept of ‘change’ thus making transactions highly profitable.
Locals say the monkeys have one particularly brave ring leader nicknamed ‘Neil’ who was the first to steal and wear a money belt. Others in the pack soon followed suit.
But it’s hoped other monkeys in the locality won’t catch on to this behaviour – or we could soon have an animal world run by cash transactions.
The Goan Tourist Authority have erected signs warning tourists of the dangers. They are asking that sightseers only carry small change and keep conversations about credit cards to a minimum.