Authorities in the city of Yamaguchi in southwestern Japan are hunting for a wild monkey that has terrorized residents over the past two weeks, attacking as many as 20 people after breaking into their homes.
The attacks have all taken place in the Ogori area of the city, with the majority of victims receiving light injuries after being clawed and bitten by the animal. The youngest victim is a 10-month-old girl, whilst the monkey has also struck at an elementary school.
A representative for the city’s administrative office said that the monkey had not been identified but it was likely to be a macaque, a species also known as the Japanese snow monkey which inhabits the area. Forest-dwellers by nature, it is rare for macaques to stray into areas inhabited by humans.
Gaining entry through open doors and windows, the monkey has been described as aggressive and not appearing to be seeking food. The attacks show no sign of slowing down, with a further two victims reported in the past 24 hours.
A woman in her 60s and a woman in her 80s, both of whom were outside at the time, are the latest to be attacked.
Police have said they are increasing patrols in the area, and urged the public to keep windows and doors closed until the animal has been located and safely removed.