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Japanese city under attack by violent monkeys: ‘They are so smart’

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A wild troop of monkeys is terrorizing the Japanese town of Yamaguchi, leading the city hall to hire a special unit of animal catchers armed with tranquilizer guns Wednesday.

The animals have attacked 58 people since July 8, targeting mostly young children and elderly people. Some monkeys have even reportedly attempted to steal babies. Yamaguchi is a rural city in southwestern Japan, and monkey attacks have not been an issue there before.

“They are so smart, and they tend to sneak up and attack from behind, often grabbing at your legs,” city official Masato Saito told the Associated Press.

“I have never seen anything like this my entire life,” he added.

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A Japanese snow monkey relaxes in a hot spring in the Jigokudani valley in northern Nagano Prefecture in Japan Friday, Feb 10, 2012. The macaques descend from the forests to the warm waters of the hot springs in the mornings, and return to the security of the forests in the evenings. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

A Japanese snow monkey relaxes in a hot spring in the Jigokudani valley in northern Nagano Prefecture in Japan Friday, Feb 10, 2012. The macaques descend from the forests to the warm waters of the hot springs in the mornings, and return to the security of the forests in the evenings. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
(AP2012)

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The special unit is tasked with singling out the most aggressive monkeys, tranquilizing them, and then putting them to death.

The team caught its first wrongdoer on Tuesday, a 15-pound, 1’6″ macaque that has now been euthanized.

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It is unclear how large the troop of monkeys is. Saito says the city is instructing citizens not to look the monkeys in the eye if they come into contact with one. He also recommended making yourself look as big as possible before backing away slowly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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