(TMU) — A small farming village in the Japanese highlands has devised a unique solution to the problem of local monkeys menacing their crops and eating their valuable produce.
Equipped with instant messaging software and a set of brand-new air-pistols, farmers and residents have formed a one-of-its-kind “monkey militia” to prevent primates from stealing the town of Kiso’s corn, cabbages and buckwheat destined for local farmers markets, according to Asahi Shimbun.
Kiso is a picturesque town which lies about 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level in the Kaida Highlands of Nagano province at the foot of Mount Ontake. Due to its temperate location, the town is a rich source of sweet corn and other crops and is considered one of Japan’s most beautiful villages.
However, local townsmen have struggled in recent years with an onset of monkeys, even resorting to firing bottle rockets and 4.5 pound air guns at the invaders to drive them away from crops, to no avail.
Earlier this month, about 20 farmers and workers in the construction and water utility businesses began gathering together to learn how to shoot lightweight air guns to scare the monkeys away.
The monkey militia members have also donned matching orange hats and formed a channel of communication using the Line group-messaging app. The “trained soldiers” also have certificates from the Kiso town mayor authorizing them to use the anti-monkey arms.
The town spent about $79,760 (850,000 yen) to purchase the pistol-like air guns, which will be loaded with biodegradable pellets. However, the guns—which weigh a bit more than a pound, or 500 to 600 grams—are meant to only be fired into the air as a means to scare creatures off.
Kiso town official Kimito Urashima explained:
“We don’t know how well (the measures) will work, but it’s important for the community to do its best.”
Town officials are hopeful that the new “monkey chaser” squadron, as they’ve been nicknamed, will be able to curb the increasingly emboldened monkeys.
Shinji Nakata, a 54-year-old grower of Chinese cabbages, has been especially plagued by the problematic primates. He said:
“It’s encouraging that people in the community have banded together for a common cause.”
— がーこ (@SHO45458399) August 21, 2018