Local authorities hunting for a gang of monkeys that attacked and injured nearly 50 people in western Japan have captured and killed one of the marauding primates, an official said Wednesday.
The male monkey was apprehended while roaming the grounds of a high school in the city of Yamaguchi – but this may not be the end of the furry, twisted story that has other monkeys feared to be on the loose.
City officials have been trying for weeks to track down the vicious gang, which has made national headlines by attacking residents with mostly minor scratches and bites.
On Tuesday night, specially commissioned hunters shot the monkey with a tranquilizer gun and eventually caught him near a lake on the school’s grounds, an official with the local agriculture department told AFP.
After being identified as the same animal responsible for one of the attacks, the monkey was euthanized, he said. It was estimated to be four years old and about half a meter tall.
Patrols have been underway in Yamaguchi since the attacks on adults and children began about three weeks ago.
But with 49 injured as of Tuesday afternoon and new attack reports, the search continues.
“Eyewitnesses describe monkeys of different sizes, and even after the capture, we have received reports of new attacks,” said the city official, who asked not to be named.
Japanese macaques are common across much of the country and are a pest in some areas, eating crops and even entering homes.
But the spate of attacks in Yamaguchi is unusual, with some residents telling local media they are now carrying umbrellas and pruning shears to defend themselves.
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