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India heatwave: Wild monkeys drown in well while searching for water in extreme heat

A group of monkeys drowned in well in India while searching for water amid extreme heat.
A group of monkeys drowned in well in India while searching for water amid extreme heat. Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Rosie Frost
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Wildlife has been making its way into villages as humans and animals alike search for relief from the heat.

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A group of 32 monkeys drowned in a well in India after extreme temperatures drove them on a desperate search for water. 

The monkeys were found dead in an irrigation well in Jharkhand state, according to local forest officials. They jumped into a well with steep sides to find water as other sources had dried up but couldn’t get out. Officials found water in the animals’ lungs and no foul play in their deaths. 

Wild animals have been making their way into villages throughout the heatwave. Several jackals also died after falling into a well while searching for water a few days ago. 

The unprecedented heat has caused mass fruit bat deaths across several regions and dangerously hot water in Telangana in the north of India led to fish dying en masse.

Animals and humans alike have been left searching for respite as temperatures in India haven’t dropped below 40C in months. In the capital city Delhi and its surrounding regions, the heatwave saw the mercury rise to 50C. 

More than 200 people are thought to have been killed by heatstroke. Between 1 and 30 May, officials say that almost 20,000 suspected heatstroke cases have been reported in the country. The final number of cases and deaths has not been confirmed and figures are likely to be higher. 

Is more heat on the way in India?

The hottest months in India are April, May and June before the monsoon rains bring cooler temperatures. 

India’s Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of more heatwave days in June across the northwest and central areas of the country. 

The forecasts came as the National Crisis Management Committee held a meeting on Thursday to review how prepared India is for the ongoing severe heatwave and serious forest fires. 

States were told to immediately implement heat health action plans to ensure the safety of people amid the rising temperatures. They have been asked to check the availability of ambulances, the preparedness of healthcare facilities, and set up heatstroke rooms as part of this plan. 

The EU’s climate monitoring service Copernicus confirmed this week that temperature records have been broken for the 12th month in a row. In May, the world’s average temperature was 1.52C higher than pre-industrial times. 

The last few months have also brought record breaking heat to the rest of Asia. A study by World Weather Attribution, an academic group that examines the source of extreme heat, found that a searing heatwave that struck parts of the continent in April was made at least 45 times more likely in areas by climate change.

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