Rural Japan's most powerful protection against crop-damaging animals is no longer the terrifying robo-wolf, but airgun-totting grannies.

In Japan's Fukui prefecture, a group of three women have armed themselves with airguns and travel around scaring off wild monkeys who steal and damage crops. They call themselves the "Monkey Busters", the Fukui Shinbun reports.

In the rural town of Keiishi, the team of Masako Ishimura (74), Tatsuko Kinoshita (68), and Miyuki II (67) respond to distress signals of those whose crops are under attack by the area's wild monkeys. They often respond in the middle of housework and rush to the site in their aprons, wielding airguns to send the monkeys fleeing and protect the crops. They are even sometimes backed by angry villagers with firecrackers! "We won't let them damage the precious vegetables grown by the villagers," Ishimura tells the Fukui Shinbun.

According to the Chunichi Shinbun, the three took up the call to battle monkeys on the advisement by the JA Fukui Prefectural Miyama Branch earlier in March after protective nets and scarecrows (well, scaremonkeys) proved ineffective. Ishimura says that the area has many elderly people for whom farming is an invaluable part of daily life, and stresses the town work together to repel the monkeys.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.