Squirrel monkeys in Ishigaki attract visitors wishing for a wonderful year

Squirrel monkeys in Ishigaki attract visitors wishing for a wonderful year

A family plays with the squirrel monkeys. Shunsuke Uchida (right) happily enjoys his time with the monkeys who ask him for food (Photograph taken by Fumiaki Jahana). 


January 1, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Pretty squirrel monkeys cheerfully played and jumped up on peoples’ shoulders on Ishigaki Island for the beginning of the year of the monkey. The 59 monkeys met the visitors at the Risuzaru no mori (squirrel monkeys’ forest), Yaima Village in Nakura, Ishigaki City.

The monkey’s forest had 12 baby monkeys newly born last year, which is the biggest number in the past 10 years. The park is expected to be more popular with the lucky news.

The small monkeys are called squirrel monkeys as they move quickly like squirrels. The species originally inhabited rain forests in southern America. They grow to about 30cm tall, excluding their tail, and bigger individuals can weigh about 1kg. Tails are longer than bodies, with lengths up to 40cm.

A 10-year-old tourist from Saitama Prefecture, Shunsuke Uchida, happily enjoyed the adorable monkeys. His 49-year-old mother, Fumiko, smiled as she commented, “I would like our family to be close and the year full of hope. I also would like our child to find new goals.”

Megumi Tokuyama, who is in charge of breeding the monkeys, said, “I hope many families can spend a happy time playing with the monkeys.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)

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