Macaque terrorizes town, sparks massive monkey-hunt

mad macaque photo
CC BY 2.0 Matteo Staltari

There's no telling what makes a monkey go rogue. But for whatever the reason, one particular male macaque in the hills surrounding Hyuga, Japan apparently decided he'd had enough -- and thus began waging a one-monkey campaign terrorizing the unsuspecting town below.

When reports first began coming in that an ill-tempered monkey was on the loose, it must have sounded a tad amusing. But as such bad monkey run-ins added up, with as many as 18 cases of people being bitten or attacked by the macaque -- authorities focused their efforts on capturing it.

One official called the monkey attacks "a serious problem” for the city.

Catching the macaque, as it turns out, was no easy task. The Japan Daily Press reports that on Sunday a team made up of 500 trained hunters, police, firefighters, and other volunteers scoured the town looking for the menacing little monkey -- but to no avail! The precocious primate had managed to stay one step ahead of its human pursuers for another day.

By day two, however, with a taskforce of just 280 monkey chasers, the jig was up. The macaque was eventually found holed up in an abandoned house and was captured.

Officials say that they tried their best to find a new home for the monkey, but word of its lengthy rap sheet had evidently gotten around. After failing to secure the animal boarding at any zoo or university that might be willing to adopt, authorities instead decided to put the monkey down.

Japanese macaque, which live in large numbers in the forested hill on the outskirts of the nation's cities, are generally tolerant and even inquisitive of humans -- though they are skilled opportunists as well. With easy access to food and shelter in urban areas abutting their habitats, interactions between monkey and humans may be unavoidable.

Tags: Animals | Japan

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