Serial macaque attacks in a city in western Japan

Serial macaque attacks in western Japanese town


Forty-two people have been injured by stray macaques in the city of Yamaguchi (western Japan) since the beginning of July, attacks on an unusual scale forcing local authorities to use hypodermic weapons to calm them down. 

Macaques are widespread in the Japanese archipelago, where they are sometimes seen as a nuisance, snooping around in houses or looting crops.

However, these little monkeys rarely attack humans directly. In Yamaguchi, both children and adults have been attacked, scratched or bitten in recent weeks.

“The whole city of Yamaguchi is surrounded by mountains, so it is not uncommon to come across monkeys there “, reminded AFP on Monday an employee of the municipality interviewed by AFP.

“But it is rare to see so many attacks over such a short period”, he said. he agreed. “Initially, only children and women were attacked. But recently elderly people and adult men have also been targeted.”

Local authorities have been conducting patrols since the first attacks around July 8, but have so far failed to capture any macaques . They do not know if it is a particularly aggressive isolated group or a behavior that has become widespread among these primates.

These incidents made the headlines of the Japanese media, quoting extensively from Yamaguchi residents who have been victims. “I heard crying downstairs, so I rushed there. And there I saw a monkey that had climbed on my child”, thus recently confided a father to the daily “Mainichi”.