TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - After visitors to a park in Dongshan reported they had seen a monkey covered in red paint, the Yilan County authorities said they would try and catch it to wash off the potentially toxic dye.
A group of friends were on their way to a mountain hike Thursday morning when they spotted about 20 Taiwanese macaques at the Renshan Botanical Garden, the Central News Agency reported.
One of the monkeys looked completely red, making the passersby think at first that it was a different species of animal.
Officials at the county department for agricultural affairs said that if a monkey had been attacked by humans, it would have run away and any paint would have left uneven marks over its body. However, in this case, the macaque looked red from top to bottom, raising the suspicion that somebody had first caught the animal and then sprayed it with paint, according to CNA.
One theory was that a farmer angry with the monkeys for destroying his crops might have been the author of the deed as if “killing the chicken to scare the monkey.”
While the Taiwanese macaque was not a protected animal, if the person who painted it red was found out, he might face a fine ranging from NT$60,000 (US$1,950) to NT$300,000, according to local officials.
Because of the red color, the macaque in question might face exclusion by his fellow animals, while the paint might also prove to be toxic, the county said, adding it would try and catch the animal to return it to its normal looks.