Rhesus monkeys can't get a break.

alex stevenson alexs19 at hotmail.com
Sat Jun 16 08:11:43 EDT 2001


Daily Yomiuri
Friday, June 15th 2001
JAPAN


Chiba govt to eliminate foreign rhesus monkeys

Yomiuri Shimbun

    CHIBA – Rhesus monkeys, originating from continental Asia, have recently 
spread to the southern tip of Boso Peninsula, worrying local government 
officials who have received complaints from farmers about crop damage.
    The Chiba prefectural government recently decided to eliminate the 
rhesus monkey population, numbering about 100. The decision follows moves by 
Wakayama Prefecture to kill about 200 Taiwan monkeys that have preyed upon 
local produce.
    According to Chiba prefectural officials, about 100 rhesus monkeys are 
believed to inhabit and area between the city of Tateyama and 
Shirahamamachi, a coastal town on the peninsula.
    The monkeys, often used in medical research, are not native to Japan.
    "We haven't discovered how they've come to inhabit this region," an 
official said.
    The prefecture has spent about ¥10 million annually surveying and 
conducting research into the monkeys since 1994, equipping them with 
electronic monitoring devices and checking their rate of pregnancy during 
their mating season.
    According to the officials, Shirahamamachi lost about ¥2.3 million in 
agricultural production last fiscal year due to the monkeys, who devoured 
Japanese radish, peas, Chinese celery cabbage and mikan among other farm 
produce.
    Specialists said the rhesus monkeys may already be mating with Japanese 
macaque, which inhabit hills north of the monkeys' territory.
    So far, five out of the known band of 100 rhesus monkeys have been 
discovered to possess traits similar to those of the Japanese macaques.
    "These include having relatively short tails, which suggest mating 
between the long-tailed rhesus monkeys and the macaques, which have very 
small tails, might have taken place," the official said.
    "Young Japanese male macaques are known to wander about, apart from 
their band, to seek mates. Such behavior may have caused them to travel 
distances to mate with the rhesus monkeys," he said.
    The official said monkey specialists will be called in to catch the 
rhesus monkeys, after which they will be put to death by the use of toxins.
    "Guns will not be used, as they may disperse the band and cause them to 
mate more with the macaques," the official said.
    The ecological destruction resulting from the introduction of foreign 
wildlife has caused problems in many municipalities in recent years, 
including the cases of North American black bass put into suburban lakes and 
rivers by anglers, and the raccoons, formerly kept as pets, now flourishing 
in the woods of Hokkaido.
    An Environment Ministry official said the government is now going 
through the process of drafting up national guidelines on foreign wildlife 
species.
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