Content warning: This article mentions violence toward children.
If you've been keeping up with the news as of late, odds are that you might've heard some stories from around the world about monkeys attacking babies. Shocking as it may be, there's clearly a pattern here, and an explanation must be within reach. So, why do monkeys seem to attack babies? Let's unpack the information that we have.
Why do monkeys attack babies? It has been happening all over the world.
Before we dive directly into establishing reasoning for this phenomena, let's take tally of all of the recent instances where a monkey attacking a baby made its way to the news.
First off, according to the BBC, a troop of monkeys in Tanzania attacked a woman breastfeeding her child on June 21, 2022. When villagers attempted to get the monkeys off of the woman and the baby, they upped their aggression. The baby later died of injuries to its head and neck due to the attack.
Per PennLive, a couple in India reportedly lost their baby son on July 15, 2022 when a pack of monkeys attacked the father, Nirdesh Upadhyay, who was holding the baby. The monkeys managed to take the child from the father and throw him off of a third story rooftop, killing him instantly.
Another instance of monkeys gone bad happened to a Ukrainian refugee in a Russian village. The two-year-old girl was attacked on July 22, 2022 by an escaped pet monkey, leaving her with severe injuries, per Newsweek. The primate pulled the girl from a swimming pool ladder and repeatedly attacked her, being relentless even when the girl's father intervened. The youngster suffered severe cuts on her arms and legs and lost a lot of blood.
The issue continues over in Japan where, per a July 27, 2022 report from The New York Times, an entire city has come under siege from macaque monkeys. That's right, rapid population growth and spread of the species in the city of Yamaguchi has become a hot-button issue. There have already been 56 victims of monkey attacks there this month, two of which were a baby girl injured in her home and a 4-year-old girl who was attacked at a kindergarten.
What's going on with all of these monkey attacks?
According to Total Tails, kidnapping young amongst the primate world is a fairly common occurrence. So, when certain monkeys, (specifically chimpanzees and macaques) see vulnerable human young, their similarities to newborn monkeys intrigue the animals and may lead to them being kidnapped. The publication states that this typically happens in smaller villages as the monkeys feel more confident in their defenses against sparse human contact as opposed to big cities.
Nonetheless, this reasoning doesn't explain why a city such as Yamaguchi has become overrun with monkeys to the point where dozens are being harmed regularly. With an uptick in monkey-related attacks across the globe, scientists will have to take a much closer look at what, if anything, humans are doing to antagonize the situation and how we could pacify the primates before things get worse.