No one wants to be shamed for their weight on social media – even if they’re a monkey. But in a positive twist, one obese macaque in Thailand who couldn’t stop filling up on free junk food and sodas left behind by tourists is actually getting the help he needs after his photo came to the attention of local officials.
Unfortunately nicknamed “Uncle Fat,” the morbidly obese wild monkey got enough attention on the Internet that Thai wildlife officials decided they needed to intervene. While typical macaques weigh about 20 pounds, this poor guy had ballooned up to around 60 pounds.
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Though tourists are due most of the blame for Uncle Fat’s unfortunate waistline, it also turns out the macaque was running a bit of an underground junk food operation. “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,” said Kacha Phukem, who was involved in the monkey’s rescue, according to the Associated Press. Supakarn Kaewchot, the veterinarian who is now in charge of the monkey's diet, continued the story. “He had minions and other monkeys bringing food for him but he would also re-distribute it to younger monkeys,” she said.
Supakarn said that Uncle Fat is in a critical condition thanks to his heightened risk for heart disease and diabetes, but she hopes that if he sticks to his strict diet of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, they might be able to release him back into the wild within a few months. Meanwhile, she has a message for tourists. “I understand that people feel sorry for the monkeys and want to feed them when they see them,” she told the AP. “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.” Yes, tourists, eat all your unhealthy snacks and sodas yourself please.