Agra: Over 70 monkeys have been found dead in three places in Agra district since Feb 5, and preliminary reports say the animals were poisoned, police said Sunday.

Police said 13 monkeys were found buried Feb 5 at Jheejhan Ki Puliya, while 14 bodies were found on Sarendhi Road and 13 in Khairagarh Feb 6. A total of 31 bodies were found Friday in Mohanpura village in Saiyan.

Many bodies were found by villagers. The bodies have been sent for autopsy examination, but police said preliminary reports indicate that the monkeys were poisoned and drugged. Uttar Pradesh forest department ranger Dal Chand has filed a police complaint in Saiyan against unidentified people under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

A farmer in Khairagarh told police that in some villages money was being collected by some people to catch the monkeys to shift them elsewhere. Speculation is rife that a gang hired to control the monkey menace had poisoned the animals.

Bajrang Dal activists reached Khairagarh Sunday and demanded a proper inquiry into the mysterious death of the monkeys. Harish Tyagi, a Bajrang Dal leader, said police were not taking the deaths seriously and had failed to arrest anyone so far.