Godzilla the obese monkey is shedding the pounds in fat camp – dieting on dill, lettuce and live crickets.
The primate weighed 19kg but has lost almost 2kg since checking into the wildlife centre in Chachoengsao, central Thailand, on March 26.
He has been on a diet of live crickets – which he chases around his pen – along with dill, lettuce, bird worms, carrots, peanuts, long beans and sunflower seeds.
Godzilla now tips the scales at 17.2kg and staff are hopeful that he can regain his fitness with a regime of daily walks to get his weight down to 10kg before being released back into the wild.
However, officers said that the ‘spoiled’ monkey is still aggressive and has attacked visitors and becomes possessive of the teddy bears and toys in his new enclosure.
Navee Changpirom, forest chief at Thailand’s Department of National Parks, said: ‘Godzilla’s weight still exceeds the normal standards of most common macaque monkeys, which is no more than 10 kg.
‘He also has behavioral problems, because he has too many toys from his previous owner. He is very possessive of them, guarding them like treasure and not allowing anyone to easily take them. If anyone tries to pick them up, he will grab them back immediately.
‘Godzilla loves to eat dill, followed by lettuce. He also likes crickets and bird worms, which are rich in protein.’
Video emerged last month of the three-year-old podgy primate chained up at a market in Bangkok, Thailand, where he had been living for more than two years while being fed by passing shoppers. Footage sparked fears for the monkey’s health due to his resemblance to the late ‘Uncle Fatty’ who died in 2019 after being ‘killed with kindness’ by being fed by humans.
Wildlife officials visited the market in the Min Buri district of the Thai capital on March 25 and Godzilla was carried away in a cage.
Wildlife chief Navee Changpirom said: ‘We received a report from someone who was concerned about the health of the monkey.
‘Our investigation then found the owner. He said that he brought the monkey home and took great care of it like one of his family own members. He and his family fed the monkey so well that it became fat. Sometimes marketgoers would find the monkey cute and would also feed it. The monkey became a favourite attraction at the market.’
Godzilla’s former owner Manop Emsan said the monkey’s parents were killed by a car when he was a baby and a previous owner had abandoned him.
He kept the monkey as a pet – illegal under the country’s wildlife laws – and let him snack all day while he ran his stall selling meatballs. Passing shoppers would also stop and feed the monkey fruit, nuts, sweets and sugary syrup drinks.
Wildlife official Phuwanak Krumnoi, who helped to collect the primate, said Godzilla is ‘critically obese’ and needs to go on a diet as soon as possible.
Former owner Manop will be allowed to visit Godzilla while he is being cared for but the primate will ultimately have to be released back into woodland, where he can interact with other monkeys.
Devastated Manop said: ‘Godzilla is like a son to me. He’s part of the family. He won’t eat if he’s not with us, he becomes moody and sad. I’m worried he won’t survive.’
Forestry official Navee Changpirom added: ‘The monkey was handed over to the National Park team to take care of him and prevent him from gaining more weight.
‘We have to remind people that if they find a wild monkey they should never keep them. The correct step is to call the local police and wait for officials to collect the animal and give proper care.’
Uncle Fatty was a wild monkey whose weight ballooned to 27kg after gorging on junk food from passersby in Thailand in 2017. The primate was later sent to ‘fat camp’ but was last seen in June 2019 before going missing and presumed dead.