Monkey Hunting Team Accidentally Shoots Woman With Tranquilizer Dart

by Amy Myers

It’s odd enough that there are actual monkey hunting teams in Japan, but even more bizarre is the fact that one of these hunters managed to shoot a bystander with a tranquilizer dart. The team consisted of several municipal employees and one monkey hunting specialist.

The incident happened in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture on Tuesday after Japanese officials received reports of a macaque monkey running loose through the streets. In recent decades, macaque-human encounters have become increasingly popular as the primate population regains traction after being on the endangered species list.

It isn’t quite clear whether this macaque had actually caused any trouble yet or if the monkey hunting team was on a prevention mission, but either way, they knew they needed to tranquilize and transport the animal away from city limits.

While searching for the macaque, officials spoke to a woman who seemed to have an idea of the primate’s whereabouts. At the same time, one of the team members was adjusting their dart rifle. Apparently, there was an airflow leak in the barrel, so to plug it, the hunter began wrapping the barrel with tape.

That’s when the hunter accidentally discharged his weapon, shooting the woman with a tranquilizer dart and knocking her out almost immediately.

Now, hunters know full well that you don’t keep your finger anywhere close to the trigger unless you are absolutely ready to shoot. According to local news outlets, the man’s finger “slipped” and suddenly they had a victim with enough sedative to knock out a 33lb (15kg) monkey. It’s not a fatal amount, but that’s not a small amount either.

City Offers Official Apology to Woman After Monkey Hunting Accident

Naturally, the mission to capture the monkey came secondary to getting this woman medical treatment. Emergency personnel transported her to a nearby hospital where she recovered from the accident. It took her roughly an hour to regain consciousness and another hour to actually be coherent and alert.

Of course, questions began to rise regarding the monkey hunter’s competency and ability to fulfill such a position. Since the incident, Fuji City has issued an official apology to the woman. Whether the city will be taking any further action on the matter has yet to be seen.

Surprisingly, this is one of the few macaque incidents that haven’t ended in some sort of monkey-caused injury in the region this summer. Within the past few months, there have been 60 reports in Yamaguchi city of macaque attacks on humans. Some of these animals have even attacked people in their sleep.

Most alarmingly, there have been incidents in which small children and babies have been the victims of the attacks, including one occurrence in which a woman found a monkey attempting to drag her child outside.

“It had grabbed her by the legs while she was playing on the floor. It looked like it was trying to drag her outside,” she told local outlets, according to Daily Mail.