Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal are faced with a new kind of threat – a herd of monkeys that will scratch, bite and even kill.

However, Indian security guards are trying to get the situation under control, scaring the animals away from Taj Mahal using slingshots. Security force deputy commandant said Taj Mahal tourists are thrilled when they see the monkeys, and when they get closer to the animals, they become a victim.

How much of a threat are the monkeys at Taj Mahal?

How real is an attack? In May two French tourists were allegedly accosted by a bunch of monkeys and were bitten. In November, a local baby was taken right out of his mother’s arms. He was bitten and then put on the roof of a nearby residence. The boy succumbed to his injuries.

Dhierendra Kumar, the baby’s uncle, said there are an excessive numbers of monkeys, and it’s scary.

The 17th century Taj Mahal mausoleum gets roughly 25,000 tourists a day. The mausoleum was a tribute to Muslim Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife – Mumtaz Mahal. The monument is located along the Yamuna River banks, the area where monkeys like to gather and hunt for food.

Tourists are not permitted to bring food into the mausoleum, and there are several trash cans near the gates. This is why the monkeys are so attracted to the area.

There are at least two attacks each month, with even the security guards feeling threatened by the animals. City authorities have been urged by Archaeological Survey of India members to address the issue. However, addressing the issue isn’t as easy as one may think. According to India’s Wildlife Protection Act, wild animals cannot be harmed. Using slingshots is only a deterrent to the monkeys, and they eventually come back. Some cities in India are using trained langurs, which is a black-faced monkey, but these monkeys cannot be brought onto the Taj Mahal grounds.

While officials love the idea behind slingshots, another thing to consider is that monkeys don’t like it when tourists come empty-handed.