An obese macaque named “Godzilla” has taken the internet by storm after the animal was seized from its owner last week.
The monkey was displayed by its owner at a market in Bangkok’s Minburi district, where it ballooned to over 20 kilograms in weight after being fed junk food by passers-by. An average full-grown macaque weighs only 10 kilos.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) decided to seize Godzilla from its owner last Thursday, concerned that the primate would die from obesity.
The macaque is now being cared for at a DNP facility.
Its owner, Manop Aimsawan, told reporters that the animal was among three macaques left behind by their previous owner, a fellow vendor at the same market. One had been killed by a car and the other by street dogs, leaving only Godzilla.
Manop said he contacted a government agency about the monkey, but the agency told him he could raise the animal as his pet despite the fact it was unregistered.
The monkey was then kept chained in the market, where passers-by fed it with fruit and other food. Inevitably, Godzilla grew fatter and fatter.
After the photos of the massive macaque went viral on social media, the DNP stepped in and transferred the animal to a wildlife conservation centre in Chachoengsao province.
The story should have ended there, since Godzilla’s owner acknowledged that keeping a macaque without a special permit is illegal. Macaques are a protected species under the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act.
However, after the owner posted a message online saying he was missing Godzilla, social media users sympathised and called on the DNP to return the animal.
Today, the DNP updated its Facebook page with a message that the monkey was safe and eating healthy food at the wildlife conservation centre.