Local authorities searching 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 simian was captured while roaming the grounds of a Yamaguchi city high school – but that may not be the end of the hairy and twisted story, with other monkeys fearful of to be free.
City officials have been trying for weeks to track down the vicious gang that made national headlines by assaulting residents with mostly light scratches and bites.
On Tuesday evening, specially commissioned hunters shot the monkey with a tranquilizer gun and eventually caught it near a lake on the school premises, a local agriculture department official told AFP. .
After identifying it as the same animal responsible for one of the attacks, the monkey was put down, he said. He was estimated to be four years old and about half a meter tall.
Patrols have been underway in Yamaguchi since attacks on adults and children began about three weeks ago.
But with 49 people injured Tuesday midday and new reports of attacks, the search continues.
“Eyewitnesses describe monkeys of different sizes, and even after the capture we received reports of new attacks,” said the city official, who requested anonymity.
Japanese macaques are commonly seen in large parts 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 now carry umbrellas and scissors to cut down trees in self-defence.
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