Video / Gujarat airport employee wears bear costume to scare away langoors

The Indian Express : Feb 07, 2020, 01:33 PM

If you happen to arrive at the Ahmedabad airport in the coming days, don’t be surprised to see the mythical ‘Bigfoot’ or ‘Yeti’ come to life, running every now and then into the urban wilderness of the airport premises.For the past one week, the airport staff at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, have one and only mission at hand: scare away langoors.

Every day, for a certain period of time, airport staff dressed in ‘bear’ costume, which appears to be borrowed straight out of a B-grade horror flick, can be seen chasing langoors off the aerodrome. Wearing over-sized costumes, the staff can be seen struggling to run with the attire, even as he tries to emit scary sounds, hoping it will add to the horror effect on the langoors.

The airport management is confident that this novel exercise has achieved the desired results by scaring the wits out of langoors and ensuring hassle-free take-off and touchdown of aeroplanes at the aerodrome.

All this has been carried out after “meticulous planning which involved studying the behaviour pattern of langoors”, seeking opinion of wildlife experts, identifying what scares the animals and then improvising time-tested animal chasing techniques.

Ahmedabad airport director Manoj Gangal claimed that the idea took birth after they saw how people in Delhi hired langoors to scare off monkeys.

“Like in Delhi, the menace of monkeys was curtailed by hiring langoors. We realised that langoors were scared of bears. We already have a team of ‘bird and wildlife’ chasers which is a third party agency on contract. So we came up with this unique initiative, where we asked one of the staff of the chasers team to don the outfit of a bear and chase the langoors away. In the earlier times, villagers used to call Madari and his pet bear whenever they had to chase away Langoors and monkeys,” Gangal told media.

He further insisted that the staff employed for this purpose is not made to perform the act the entire day.

“We studied the psychology and behaviour patterns of the langoors and realised that these wild animals appear at our airport premises during a specific time of the day. So, for that time period, the staff wears the outfit and chases away the wild animals,” added Gangal.

On being asked about the langoor menace, SVPI airport officials informed media that in the past one year, the wild animals have caused them enough trouble. Back in April 2019, a group of langoors were able to reach a few runways at the aerodrome causing two flight diversions and delayed 10 additional flights from their scheduled departure.

“Although we have installed barbed fencing and electric fencing and have a dedicated team of chasers who are equipped with acoustic devices to scare away wild animals and birds, we realised that Langoors can achieve great height with their jumps and that is why we decided to go traditional in our approach. This initiative has been carried out on an experimental basis and we have achieved good results in the past one week as there has been no flight disruption due to wild animals. Hopefully later we will implement it as a long term plan,” said Gangal.