By Sep 8, 2010-
A Japanese town is offering a 200,000 yen ($2,400) reward for the capture of a monkey that’s broken into houses and attacked 43 people in the past month.
A single male macaque, aged about 5 years, is believed to be responsible for the attacks, said Masayuki Miyazaki, a spokesman for the Mishima city government. The bounty will be introduced today and given to anyone able to lock the monkey in their house, he said.
“Many people are afraid to go outside,” Miyazaki said by telephone today. “We’ve had isolated cases of crop damage by monkeys before, but there’s never been anything like this.”
The monkey is also believed to be responsible for 38 attacks in three nearby towns, he said. The only reported injuries have been minor scratches and bites. Mishima, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Tokyo, updates a website every day to provide residents with information about the attacks.
At least eight people were lightly bitten in the town yesterday and there were 15 reported monkey sightings, according to the website.
About 10,000 Japanese macaques, also known as Snow Monkeys, are caught nationwide each year to prevent damage to crops, according to the Ministry of Environment.
More than 200 Mishima government workers, some armed with tranquilizer guns, this morning searched the town for the monkey, Miyazaki said. There were no sightings of the primate.
Parents have been advised to walk their children to school, and the city has increased police patrols. Residents should be particularly watchful in the morning when monkeys are likely to be more active, Mishima’s website says.
“The monkey is probably just seeking attention and wanting to play, but people need to be careful,” Miyazaki said. “They should run if they see the monkey.”