Something is very wrong with the monkeys in certain regions of Japan. On the outskirts of the city of Yamaguchi, at least 58 people have been attacked by apes since the 8th. The situation has reached such an alarming level that the prefecture has created a special group to hunt the apes – the species known as the Japanese macaque.
So far, no more serious attacks have been recorded – such as the case of the monkey gang that kidnapped a child and threw him off a three-story building in India – but many victims were scratched and bitten on various parts of the body.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life,” said Masato Saito, a Yamaguchi official, in an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday (27).
The numbers keep growing: attacks and violent encounters with the animals have doubled in less than a week, according to a report by the region’s wildlife department, released by CNN.
In one case, a woman was attacked while hanging clothes on a clothesline. In another encounter, a monkey bit and scratched an elderly man’s legs.
“I heard a cry coming from downstairs and I ran down the stairs. ‘Then I saw a monkey leaning over my son,” a resident of the city said in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.
Below you can see an example approach:
At the start of the current wave of cases, authorities thought that a single monkey who had turned violent was to blame.
But the wave of terror continued, even after the arrest of a monkey caught attacking a child. It has become clear that a group of them is behind the attacks.
To make matters worse, animals are intelligent: they often choose children, women and the elderly as targets and attack from behind. Saito revealed to the AP a short list of things to do in case someone encounters a gang of malicious apes.
None of the investigators have any clues as to what may have motivated the recent wave of chaos and violence caused by the animals, or even where exactly they come from. But everyone is aware that the apes are not looking for food, which makes hunting them with traps difficult.
One of the suspicions is that the violent approaches are the consequence of decades of fights between farmers and apes, who are attacked when they steal crops.
The fear is that they will learn from each other to deal with humans and lose their fear of breaking into homes and attacking people, which could make the situation even worse.
On Tuesday night (26), the special group of the prefecture created just to deal with the problem captured a male in a clear suspicious attitude at a school in the city.
The animal was silenced with a tranquilizer dart and euthanized shortly afterwards, after being sentenced to death.
Interactions with monkeys are not new to Japan, especially in rural and mountainous regions of the interior of the country. In some localities, they are considered urban pests, as they invade crops and steal food from homes.
But Yamaguchi’s recent wave is considered unusual, as it is violent and aimed at humans rather than food theft.
Some residents told CNN they now leave the house with umbrellas, garden shears or some other item to fend off the animals — which reach 60 cm in height and 13 kg.
On the internet, Japanese macaques are famous for photos in which they appear relaxed in hot springs in the mountains of the country, but now they seem to have entered a state of mysterious aggression.
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