An obese monkey in Thailand is being sent to a fat camp after ballooning to twice the normal weight for his species – by gorging on food from tourists.
The 33lb long-tailed macaque – nicknamed ‘Uncle Fatty’ – had been getting fed sugary melons, milkshakes, sweetcorn and noodles, by visitors to a floating water market in Bangkok.
He developed an enormous belly before wildlife officials who received reports from concerned locals spotted him this week.
Uncle Fatty has now been rescued and taken for a health check and monkey ‘fat camp’ to try and reduce his weight to a more acceptable 17.5lb – normal for his species.
Thai primate conservation group ‘Monkey Lovers’ said today that Uncle was not sick – he was just fat – and wanted him returned to his friends.
Organiser Kawinoat MongKholtechaphat said: ‘Uncle has got fat because he has just been eating everything that people give to him.
‘He’s not sick, he just needs helps. He likes eating and there are lots of visitors and tourists who give him food all day.’
Kawinoat said that Uncle played an important role in the community of monkeys that roam free around the market in the Bang Khun Thian district.
He added: ‘He’s a leader to the younger monkeys. He teaches them important things, how to survive.
‘He’s old now and likes to sit around eating a lot. We want the monkeys to stay roaming free outside where they are happy.’
The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation have now transferred Uncle to a Nakhon Nayok wildlife rescue center some 100 miles away where he will receive health checks.
The chubby monkey will also be put on a strict diet – and made to run and swing around with other animals to lose weight.
Kanjana Nittaya said: ‘We believe the monkey is suffering from obesity because a great number of people come there and feed it. It is probably just sitting there and overeating.’
Thailand is home to hundreds of thousands of wild monkeys including gibbon, macaque, langur and loris, that roam free and are popular with tourists.