A macaque that got people's attention with his round belly has now been taken by authorities to be placed on a strict diet. Human food is said to be the likely culprit for his obesity, but authorities are working to nurse him back to health.
Residents of the Bangkok's Bang Khun Tian district as well as tourists fed the famous macaque they appropriately nicknamed Uncle Fat due to his enormous belly. However, Thailand's wildlife officials were more concerned for the monkey's health than amused at his appearance.
Because of this, authorities rescued the macaque last April 27, as they were concerned that perhaps the monkey was not just fat but also had a tumor growing inside of him. However, many tests proved that the monkey did not have any tumors but was obese at 26 kilograms, which is about three times the normal weight of macaques.
"We humans caused this. We gave him food that monkeys shouldn't eat, and this was totally preventable," said Supakarn Kaewchot, the government veterinarian in charge of Uncle Fat's new strict diet.
According to Supakarn, Uncle Fat's obesity was primarily due to being given human food such as high-sugar fruits, crunchy snacks, and beverages like sodas.
Now, Uncle Fat is on his way to losing the extra weight with the help of his strict diet of low-sugar fruits, green vegetables, and lean meat. The national parks department also provided Uncle Fat's current residence with logs to encourage him to exercise.
So far, Uncle Fat has only lost a few grams and, just like humans, need a little time to lose the extra weight. His carers are hoping for the weight loss so as to decrease his chances of heart disease and diabetes. Further, they are also hoping to be able to eventually return him to the wild.
Uncle Fat's carer isn't just concerned for him. She is also worried about the other monkeys that could possibly have the same fate in the days to come. She stresses that people have to be educated about feeding the animals in their area, especially when it comes to feeding them the right kind of food.
"I understand that people feel sorry for the monkeys and want to feed them when they see them, but please don't feed them food that people like to eat like snacks and soda. It is very bad for their health and the problem is entirely man-made," said Supakarn to AP News.