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70 monkeys escape east Japan zoo from apparent manmade hole in fence

The hole through which 70 Japanese macaques are believed to have escaped is seen in a zoo in Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture, in this image provided by the Futtsu Municipal Government.

FUTTSU, Chiba -- A total of 70 Japanese macaque monkeys were found to have escaped from their temporary enclosure at a zoo in this eastern Japan city after a construction worker spotted a hole in a fence, the city said.

The fence, which measures some 3 meters high and 90 meters around, appears to have been broken by someone. The construction worker at Takagoyama zoo in the Chiba Prefecture city of Futtsu who discovered the scene immediately reported the problem to the city government, and the facility has filed a report with the Futtsu Police Station.

According to the zoo's operator, the laborer thought something was amiss after seeing the macaques outside of their cage at around 7 a.m. on June 10, and went to go and check the fence. There, the worker found a hole measuring about 38 centimeters high and 30 cm wide. Marks around it reportedly suggested a bladed object had been used to make the opening. The zoo has no surveillance cameras covering the area.

As of 8 p.m. that day, there had yet to be any reports of damage caused by the escaped monkeys in the area. The city government is warning residents not to approach the animals, and box-traps with food are being used to try and catch the macaques.

In 2019, Typhoon Faxai caused an enclosure at the zoo to collapse, putting almost 100 monkeys out in the wild again. The zoo temporarily closed, and made a temporary cage while it continued to catch the monkeys.

(Japanese original by Shigeharu Asami, Kisarazu Local Bureau)

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