An armed “monkey militia” has been created in a Japanese village to stop primates invading and stealing crops, according to local media.
More than 30 volunteers in the mountain community of Kaida have signed up and been given weapons training to stop the animals taking corn, buckwheat and cabbages.
When a monkey is spotted, a message is sent to all members of the group, who are then expected to rush to the scene with specially provided air guns.
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Fighters – who have also been given matching hats – are told to only fire in the air to scare the animals off.
Kimito Urashima, an official in the town of Kiso which Kaida is part of, told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper: “We don’t know how well (the measures) will work, but it’s important for the community to do its best.”
The militia was created following a meeting about the growing boldness of the primates in Kiso, which is nestled in the highlands at the foot of Mount Ontake in Nagano Prefecture.
Some £66,000 was spent on setting up the group – nicknamed locally as the “monkey chasers” – but, despite the outlay, residents have largely welcomed the move, the national paper reported.
“It’s encouraging that people in the community have banded together for a common cause,” said Shinji Nakata, a 54-year-old Chinese cabbage grower who has had particular trouble with invading monkeys.