A morbidly obese monkey in Thailand who picked up food left behind by tourists has been seized by offiicals after photos of the critter circulated on social media last month.
There were concerns that “Uncle Fat” as he has been dubbed by locals was fostering bad habits among other monkeys as he’s the leader of the fat.
Typically macques weight 9 kilograms — or about 20 pounds. But Uncle Fat tipped the scales at around three times that number.
“It was not easy to catch him,” said Kacha Phukem, the wildlife official who conducted the capture and rescue on April 27. “He was the leader of his pack, and when I tried to go in, I had to fight off a flock of them with sticks.”
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What prompted the need to capture Uncle Fat was concerns that he was setting a bad example for other monkeys. Subordinate monkeys brought food to Uncle Fat.
He had minions and other monkeys bringing food for him but he would also re-distribute it to younger monkeys,” said Supakarn Kaewchot, a veterinarian in charge of the monkey’s diet. “After he ate food given by humans for a while, he developed a fat mass, which became a type of benign tumour,” Supakarn said. “He is now in critical condition where there is a high risk of heart disease and diabetes.”
Uncle Fat is believed to be between 10 and 15 years old. To help him lose weight, his new diet is limited to 400 grams worth of lean protein, fruits and vegetables twice a day.
Supakarn said she hopes that within a few months they can consider releasing him to the wild.
She said Uncle Fat is an example of why people shouldn’t feed wild monkeys unhealthy food.
“I understand that people feel sorry for the monkeys and want to feed them when they see them,” Supakarn said. “But please don’t feed them food that people like to eat like snacks and soda. It is very bad for their health and the problem is entirely man-made.”