Japanese in Hot Pursuit of Roaming Monkey
By Associated Press
TOKYO — Japanese officials are struggling to capture a rogue monkey roaming the streets of Tokyo. Believed to be a Japanese macaque that has come out of the wild, the monkey has been sighted at least 11 times since April 30 perched atop roofs, telephone poles and scampering among trees in backyards.
Though it has caused little damage — yet — police and animal welfare officials are in hot pursuit of the monkey, which has been traversing some of the capital’s most densely populated neighborhoods.
“It’s a bit of a problem. The animal welfare staff is trained to catch dogs but not monkeys,” said Tokyo city official Hiroyuki Satsuke.
In rural Japan, the macaques — an endangered species — have been known to attack and bite humans. The average adult weighs about 33 pounds and stands about two feet tall, but their thick fur can make them appear much larger.
Teaching staff ushered children to safety when the monkey entered an elementary school in Tokyo’s Kita ward on May 2, Satsuke said. The Asahi newspaper quoted a priest at a nearby temple who saw the monkey scattering flowers left on graves.
“We just can’t seem to locate it … but there is a possibility it could cause physical damage,” said a National Police Agency spokesman.
It was not clear why the animal may have wandered into the city, officials said.