Japanese police are using sedative guns to stem the wave of wild monkey attacks that are terrorizing the population.
In recent weeks, 42 people have been infected in Yamaguchi – including children and the elderly.
Wild monkeys are common in many Japanese cities, but attacks are rare.
“It’s rare to see so many attacks in such a short period of time,” a city official said. “Initially, only children and women were attacked. Recently, the elderly and adult men have also been targeted.”
Earlier this month, police attempted to set up special patrols and use booby traps, but both attempts were unsuccessful.
The authorities are also unsure whether the attacks were the work of a single monkey or several.
Victims’ injuries range from scrapes to bites on the legs, hands, neck and abdomen.
A four-year-old girl was scratched after a monkey broke into an apartment. And in another episode, a monkey broke into a kindergarten classroom.
Some residents reported several break-ins into their homes through sliding doors or open windows.
“I heard crying coming from the basement and I went down,” a father told Japanese media. “That’s when I saw a monkey on top of my son.”
These species of wild monkeys were once considered endangered, but recently their numbers have increased. Listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species of “least concern”.
However, this increase in the number of species “provoked serious conflicts between people and apes,” according to research by Yamagata University.
According to the study, today wild apes and humans live close to each other, which has exacerbated conflicts. Changing cultural attitudes towards apes, changes in human behavior and changes in forest environments are also contributing factors.
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