An aggressive monkey roaming northeast Chaoyang’s Quanfa Garden (泉发花 园) has torn the head off a pet rabbit and is still wandering the residential compound, an expat resident alleges.
Erika Chen, who has been living in Quanfa Garden since early August, said she first heard about a neighbor owning a pet monkey approximately four weeks ago. But it was only this week that her family had a close encounter with the animal, which she says attacked and killed her pet rabbit Wednesday (Oct. 5).
On Oct. 6, in a WeChat group comprised of Quanfa residents, Chen posted a video of her pet’s body, the head of which had been gruesomely torn off. The incident happened while she and her family were away for the Golden Week holiday, and was discovered by the family’s ayi, who was pet-sitting for the family’s three house cats and two rabbits. When the ayi arrived on Oct. 5, she found one of the rabbits dead in the back yard.
Chen said a neighbor later told her that the monkey had been “holding the rabbit as a hostage in a [nearby]tree.”
After posting the video, Chen expressed her despair and frustration. “This is what happen to our sweet bunny Bella yesterday,” Chen wrote to members of the group. “I will do anything to get this monkey out from our compound.”
Chen said that her pet was not the first victim of the monkey’s taste for rabbits. Another member of the Quanfa WeChat group posted a message saying that the monkey frequently scales a tree in a nearby garden to attempt to catch pet bunnies kept in a nearby pen.
Vlada Uliyanova, who also lives in Quanfa, noted that she heard the monkey’s owner still lives in Quanfa and lets the animal out unaccompanied on a regular basis, despite being warned not to.
“I like animals, but I don’t feel comfortable around monkeys who are let out in the open,” Uliyanova said. “Monkeys are unpredictable and can become aggressive.”
She said a neighbor told her about recently seeing the monkey attempting to climb inside someone’s home.
Mary Peng, who runs the International Center for Veterinary Services, said monkeys are considered wildlife in China and are illegal to keep as pets. “Monkeys are mammals and can be carriers of rabies, so there is a real public health concern when monkeys are kept as pets,” she said.
The spotting of monkeys on the loose in expat compounds is not unprecedented, Peng said.
“These stories surface every few years,” she recalls. “In Shunyi about 5-7 years ago, there was a macaque that had escaped or had been abandoned. This monkey terrorized the Shunyi community for months, hanging out in backyards and waiting for people to give it food or eating food from pet food bowls left outside,” she said. “People were afraid to go outside or to let their children and pets outside.”
Uliyanova said she recently filmed the Quanfa monkey on a table in her backyard. When the animal noticed her, it leapt backward, then slowly walked toward the closed glass window to peer at the woman, before bounding away and scaling a nearby tree.
Jim James, Chen’s husband, said the mutilation of the family’s pet rabbit has prompted him to initiate a plan to catch the monkey and send it to a zoo.
As of Thursday evening (Oct 6), we’ve received no word about the apprehension of the monkey, so area residents are warned to keep their small pets indoors and keep a look out for loose primates in the trees.
Photo Courtesy of a Quanfa resident