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Wild Monkeys Spotted in Central Tokyo
monkey about a meter tall was spotted several times in residential areas
and busy commercial districts of central Tokyo in June, but the animal
has since disappeared, escaping police attempts to capture it.
The monkey appeared to be a Japanese macaque, weighing around 20 kilograms. It was spotted in various places in the middle of the nation's capital, including the balcony of a foreign embassy. Police urged local residents not to let young children go out of the house alone and warned them against touching the animal. It disappeared, though, after being brushed by a passing car while trying to cross a wide street.
According to Tokyo metropolitan government officials, sightings of the monkey were first made in early June in the western suburbs, such as the city of Hachioji. There were subsequent sightings in Setagaya Ward, a residential district adjacent to downtown Tokyo.
Sightings of another monkey, apparently different from the one spotted in central Tokyo, were also made in suburban Machida as well as in Yokohama.
Government officials say the monkeys appear to be wild, not pets. The animals probably became separated from a group of wild monkeys living in mountainous areas west of Tokyo. In Tokyo, you need authorization to keep a Japanese macaque as a pet, and there has so far been no reports of missing pet monkeys from owners.
The appearance of wild monkeys in the middle of an urban metropolis attracted great media attention, but animal experts say that such coverage and the attempts to capture them are taxing the animals both physically and emotionally and will probably make it impossible for them to return to their natural habitats and their groups.
Photo: The runaway monkey was spotted at the Singaporean
Embassy in Tokyo. (PANA)