Alien Gene Found! Animals Having It Were Killed; 57 Of Them Went Through Lethal Injection

First Posted: Feb 22, 2017 04:30 AM EST

A zoo in Japan was forced to kill 57 native snow monkeys through lethal injection. The officials have found that they are carrying a gene of an "invasive alien species."

In the city of Futtsu in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo, the Takagoyama Nature Zoo houses 164 simians that they believed to be all pure Japanese macaques. However, the local officials and zoo operators have found that the species were crossbred, one third of them. They have discovered that these were crossbred with the rhesus species, which they called an "invasive alien species."

The Japanese law bans the transport and possession of the invasive species, a city official said on Tuesday. It includes the crossbreeds, thus rejecting them is approved under their law.

The city official also said that the snow monkeys were put down through lethal injection over about one month and ended in early February. The operators of the zoo even held a memorial service for the snow monkeys at the nearby Buddhist temple to have peace for their souls.

The snow monkey-rhesus macaque crossbreeds were in line for culling when the environment law in Japan was revised in the year 2013. An official at the Chiba prefectural government said that, "They have to be killed to protect the indigenous environment," as quoted by

Nonetheless, the Environment Ministry of Japan shared that there are some exceptions, of which is that when the zoo applies for the permission to keep them. An official from the ministry said that, "There are many zoos in the country, which rear animals that became classified as invasive species after the law was created."

The killing of the animals might sound cruel to some, but the environmentalist said that it is crucial not to allow any contact between the native and the foreign species. It is a prevention for the natural balance to be upset.

BBC reported that a representative from the conversation group, WWF Japan Junkichi Mima, said that the invasive species can cause problems. "Because they get mixed in with indigenous animals and threaten the natural environment and ecosystem," he added.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics