Whether he likes it or not, a morbidly obese wild monkey in Thailand is now swapping an anything-goes diet of junk food and soda for a strict regimen of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
Dubbed “Uncle Fat” by social media followers who began circulating photos of him last month, it was tourists, apparently finding his folds irresistible, who plied him with sweets.
But the primate’s predicament is a good example of why people should not be feeding wild animals. Today he weighs 60 pounds, three times the amount of an average adult, reports the Associated Press and is facing serious health issues.
He is in the care of Supakarn Kaewchot who says all of that fat formed a mass that became a type of benign tumor. “He is now in critical condition where there is a high risk of heart disease and diabetes,” she says.
Wildlife official Kacha Phukem captured the macaque on April 27 from a Bangkok suburb and tells the Associated Press, “He was the leader of his pack, and when I tried to go in, I had to fight off a flock of them with sticks.”
In addition to providing muscle, the pack would ensure that the leader needn’t lift a finger for his meals.
“He had minions and other monkeys bringing food for him,” said veterinarian Supakarn.
But the hope is that without all the bad influences, Uncle Fat will soon be returning to fighting weight. He is being fed just 14 ounces of lean protein and produce twice a day.
Officials hope to release him within the next few months. But whether Uncle Fat can keep off the weight once he gets back to the wild and back to temptation is another story.