Keeper Shuto Ishida displays his dapper “pitching form” with a bucket of food for Anubis baboons in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, on Feb. 4. (Video taken by Yusuke Saito)

INUYAMA, Aichi Prefecture--People are going ape over a video of a high-energy keeper feeding a troop of baboons at a monkey center here.

The clip has topped 1.3 million views and been retweeted more than 24,000 times since the Japan Monkey Center posted it on Twitter in late January to highlight its Anubis baboons.

But it's the way the keeper bombards the baboons below him with a rain of incoming diced potatoes and apples, which is generating the biggest buzz.

“Ready?” keeper Shuto Ishida, 25, says, standing above a pen of about 80 baboons, in the afternoon on Feb. 4, that immediately began circling about upon his arrival.

“They know it's mealtime. It's like musical chairs,” Ishida says. “The baboons are moving into position so they can easily get a potato.”

He then quickly raises a bucket, stretches his arms backward and fires out chopped potato projectiles in a fan. Lunch has barely hit the ground when the baboons are seen swarming over each other in search for more.

To meet their hunger, Ishida unloads bucket after bucket above their heads, containing apples and other kinds of food.

“We need to quickly deliver food to all of them so they won't fight,” said Ishida. “I need power to carry four buckets containing 10 kilograms of food and make a full swing.”

The baboons eat about 30 to 60 kg of food at each breakfast, lunch and dinner at the center.

Yoshihiro Kagami, 37, the chief keeper at the center, posted the video of Ishida on the facility’s official Twitter account, to let people know what keepers are doing and how challenging it can be.

Viewers, however, have focused on Ishida’s way of emptying the buckets, posting comments calling his swing “beautiful,” and praising him for evenly fanning food across the pen.

“With that arm of his, he deserves to be a first-round draft pick,” one post read.

The center's Twitter followers leaped from 900 six months ago to more than 8,000 after the video was posted.

The center's current pitching style of feeding, which it started doing 10 years ago, is not only to prevent fighting among baboons but also to give keepers carrying food the opportunity to closely observe their movements and to check their conditions and whether they are pregnant.

Anubis baboons, which have a black face and an olive-colored body, are somber compared to other primates.

However, visitors to the center can enjoy discovering characteristics of the troop and individual baboons, which differ from ones seen in zoos.

For example, baboons in strong positions in the troop take their time eating, with their food spread around their feet, while weaker-positioned baboons rush about carrying their food.

“When I meet visitors who try to keep a distance from the baboons, saying, ‘They're stinky,’ I say to them, ‘Hold on a second,’” said Ishida. “Our baboons are adorable like our own children. We (take care of them) with love.”

“Exactly,” Kagami said.

Six keepers including Kagami have been posting messages and images from behind the scenes of the center's displays on social networking sites since July.

They said they wanted to convey the charms of the facility, which has seen subdued traffic despite having the “world’s highest” number of displayed primate species.