Local authorities in the Japanese city of Yamaguchi said Monday they are turning to tranquilizer guns to counter marauding monkeys that have injured 42 people in recent weeks.
Japanese macaques are widespread in large parts of the country, and in some areas are pests, eating crops and even entering homes.
But the wave of monkey attacks in a city in western Japan has been unusual, with adults and children receiving injuries, including scratches and bites.
“The whole city of Yamaguchi is surrounded by mountains, and it’s not uncommon to see monkeys,” said a city official from the agricultural department. AFPrefusing to give his name.
“But it’s rare to see so many attacks in such a short amount of time.”
So far, injuries have been mostly minor, but now authorities are turning to tranquilizers after the traps they set failed to catch any of the pesky primates.
“Initially, only children and women were attacked. Recently, both the elderly and adult men have been targeted,” the official said.
The city is not even sure if the attacks are the work of several monkeys or one aggressive person. Intruders in some cases entered through sliding open screen doors or entered through windows.
City officials and police have been patrolling the area since the first attacks around July 8, but so far no monkeys have been caught.
The story has made headlines in Japan in recent weeks, with locals reporting regular incursions.
“I heard crying coming from the first floor, so I hurried downstairs,” one local father told the Mainichi Shimbun daily.
“Then I saw a monkey bending over my child.”