Monkey and Deer: A Surprising Friendship in the Japanese Forest

Monkey and Deer: A Surprising Friendship in the Japanese Forest

A captivating photograph of a monkey riding on the back of a deer has taken the internet by storm. The image, captured by photographer Atsuyuki Ohshima in a Japanese forest, showcases an extraordinary interaction between a macaque and a deer.

While such encounters are not unheard of, they remain rare and mesmerizing. The picture, entitled “Forest Rodeo,” was shared on Instagram by Ohshima, accompanied by a caption that sheds light on the behavior: “In this case, however, the macaque was a young female, appearing just to be enjoying a free ride.”

The remarkable photograph was released by the U.K. Natural History Museum as a preview for its esteemed Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Alongside other highly commended photos, the image will be displayed at the museum from October 13. The winners of the competition will be announced on October 10.

The Japanese forest where this incredible moment unfolded is home to Yakushima macaques, commonly known as Snow Monkeys. These primates inhabit the island of Yakushima, situated off the southern coast of Japan. With a population of approximately 12,000, the macaques coexist with a significant number of deer on the island.

Despite the presence of humans, the deer on Yakushima appear unfazed. They roam freely, mostly foraging, and only retreat if someone gets too close—usually within a 15-foot radius. Known as “Yakushika” in Japanese, these deer have a population estimated between 10,000 to 20,000. To maintain a balanced ecosystem, periods of culling have been carried out.

Interestingly, the interaction between macaques and deer extends beyond riding. Researchers have observed macaques attempting to mate with the deer, grooming them, and even engaging in playful interactions. In fact, a similar sight was captured on film in 2017, and instances of monkeys trying to mate with deer were reported in 2015.

The photograph captured by Atsuyuki Ohshima adds to the collection of these unique encounters. While the image itself has garnered attention for its exceptional quality, it serves as a reminder of the intricate relationships that exist in the natural world. The bond between the monkey and the deer not only invites us to appreciate the beauty of this moment but also sparks curiosity about the intricacies of animal behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Where was the photograph taken?
A: The photograph was taken in a Japanese forest.

Q: What is the name of the photographer?
A: The photographer’s name is Atsuyuki Ohshima.

Q: What is the title of the photograph?
A: The photograph is titled “Forest Rodeo.”

Q: What competition is the photograph a part of?
A: The photograph is part of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Q: What do macaques and deer do besides riding?
A: Macaques have been observed attempting to mate with deer, grooming them, and engaging in playful interactions.