Takagoyama Nature Zoo in the city of Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture in northern Japan recently culled 57 of its native snow monkeys by lethal injection, according to a report
They were Japanese macaques, commonly known as snow monkeys and are one of the Japan's major tourist attractions. They have distinct red faces and light brown fur.
And they can often be found taking a warming bath in volcanic hot spring "onsen" baths in the wild. Seen below are Japanese Macaque monkeys taking a bath in a mountain hot springs in Jigokudani (Hell's Valley) in Nagano Province of central Japan.
In fact, the snow monkeys have long been a popular attraction living in sub-zero temperatures in many snow-covered mountainous regions of Japan during the winters
The snow monkeys in Japanese are called Nihonzaru.
The zoo, which killed the 57 snow monkeys by lethal injection over a period of one month, was originally home to 164 snow monkeys, all of were believed to be purebred
But why did the zoo killed the snow monkeys?
Because DNA testing found that one-third of the 164 snow monkeys at the Takagoyama Nature Zoo had been crossbred with the rhesus macaque.
And the non-indigenous rhesus macaque is banned under Japanese law. The rhesus macaque is native to India and China and is designated an "invasive alien species".
Apparently, the snow monkeys had escaped from their enclosure and bred with the rhesus macaques outside
The monkeys had "to be killed to protect the indigenous environment" an official with the Chiba Prefectural Government told Japan Times on Tuesday.
However, according to Japan's Environment Ministry, exceptions can be made, such as cases in which zoos apply for permission to keep them.
"There are many zoos in the country which rear animals that became classified as invasive species after the law was created," a ministry official told Japan Times.
What do you think? Can an act like this be justified? You can comment below to share your thoughts with us.