Yamaguchi is a city of about 200,000 inhabitants located in the southwest of Japan, a hundred kilometers west of Hiroshima, in a valley surrounded by mountains. In the area around the city it is not uncommon to see Japanese macaques, a species widespread in various mountainous areas of Japan and known for its red snout, as well as for the habit of staying near the thermal springs. Macaques do not usually attack humans; yet since last July 8 in this area there have been attacks against at least 45 people, both inside and outside the homes of local inhabitants.
None of the people attacked suffered serious injuries: a few scratches and marks on the hands and legs, and in some cases bites on the neck and other parts of the body. The city administration has made it known that initially the people attacked were only women and children, but then adult and elderly men also began to be attacked.
What is happening has been reported in the main newspapers of the country. At the moment, none of the attempts by local authorities to contain the attacks – with traps, nets and tranquilizers – have been successful.
It is not clear whether a single particularly aggressive animal or more than one attacked the inhabitants of the city, and there is no certainty as to what could have caused the attacks. In at least two cases a macaque has managed to enter several homes and a preschool through open windows or by sliding French doors, said Masato Saito, a municipality official quoted by CNN: with the invitation to the population of keep the doors and windows closed, the attacks are continuing outside, Saito added.
Mieko Kiyono, an expert on local fauna and associate professor at the University of Kobe, explained that the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) lives in groups, according to a very rigid hierarchy: however, when males reach puberty they leave their group and it is possible. that in this period they approach the fields, eating the crops, or the inhabited centers, sometimes even entering the houses. This is why it is assumed that the animal or animals that made the attacks are male.
According to the authorities in Yamaguchi, attacks such as those that have occurred in recent weeks are rare. According to Kiyono, however, events of this type are occurring with increasing frequency both due to the growth of the macaque population, obtained thanks to the great efforts for the conservation of the species, and to the progressive reduction of their natural habitat.
Sometimes the police use fireworks and various traps to try to push the monkeys back to their habitat, Kiyono said, but these measures don’t always work: the animals can thus begin to have hostile behavior towards humans and, to little by little, to no longer fear them.
– Read also: The singular coup in a reserve of Japanese macaques
#unusual #attacks #macaques #people #Yamaguchi #Japan #Post