Rampaging monkey hunted in Japan for up to 18 violent attacks

20 July 2022, 10:31

Japanese macaque monkey
Japanese macaque monkey. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

A rogue monkey is behind a spate of violent attacks that have injured up to 18 people - mostly children and elderly people - in Japan.

Authorities have launched a hunt for the Japanese macaque which began its rampage on July 8 by climbing into a flat in Yamaguchi city's Ogori district and trying to drag a baby out of the window.

The baby's mother said she was alerted by her injured child's screams and shooed the monkey away, before calling on authorities to catch the animal "as soon as possible".

"It had grabbed her by the legs while she was playing on the floor. It looked like it was trying to drag her outside," she told local news outlets.

Reports suggest the monkey went onto attack another five people in the same district before entering a primary school on July 11, where it scratched one pupil, and then attacked a four-year-old girl three days later in a nearby nursery.

Yamauchi city residents have been warned not to leave their windows open and to report any monkey sightings to authorities - but the frenzied primate is still on the loose.

Other victims of the macaque include several elderly people who were attacked outside their homes as they hung out washing.

Read More: Killer troop of monkeys hurl four-month-old baby to his death from three-storey roof

There are hundreds of thousands of Japanese macaques living in the wild across Japan and in recent years more have been seen in cities.

The animals typically weigh around 20-25lbs and are only around 50-60cm tall, but they are considerably stronger than a human of the same size. 

The reduction of wilderness areas and declining access to food in Japan has forced many species to wander into urban centres in search of sustenance, often crossing paths with unsuspecting residents.

Bears and wild boars are among the most notorious offenders, with the number of sightings and attacks of both having increased considerably in recent years.

In the northernmost main island of Hokkaido alone, the number of bear sightings soared from 381 in 2020 to 2,197 last year.

And wild boars ran amok in a park in Hiroshima last year, inflicting injuries on six people before they too were shot.