More than 200 chubby Tibetan macaque monkeys have slimmed down after a three-year diet on Emei Mountain in Sichuan Province.
The monkeys, under second-level state protection, once lived a decadent life in the 80-hectare ecological reserve in the Emei Mountain area. They greedily devoured junk food fed to them by tourists.
Amid fears that the monkeys were losing their wild instincts and becoming obese, zoologists launched the diet plan.
Hu Yongzhong, director of the monkey protection reserve, said, "The macaques were used to asking for food from tourists. Half of their food came from eating wild plants, the other half came from tourists."
Naughty tourists were feeding macaques fatty snacks. Many of the monkeys had high blood pressure and a high lipid content due to the unhealthy diet, according to Hu.
"A normal adult macaque weighs about 25 kilograms, but many ballooned to 45kg," Hu said.
With the monkeys growing more sluggish and lazy, and in danger of losing their instincts, staff on Emei Mountain took action.
The most important part of the plan was to control the diet of the Tibetan macaques,'' said Jian Hongbo, deputy director of Qingyinge administrative office with the Emei Mountain Administrative Committee.
"We told tourists that they could only feed them food such as raw pignuts, corn and raisins," said Jian.
"At the beginning, many tourists did not understand. One elderly American woman complained that she had brought the food all the way from her home."
The zoo staff also imposed a limit on the amount of time the monkeys spent with tourists so they would be forced to provide for themselves in the forest.