Thursday, June 07, 2007

Beloved Monkey Passes At Texas Learning Center

Face, the eccentric monkey who stole hearts in Plano for his love of soap operas and funny facial expressions, died Wednesday. He was between 25 and 30 years old.

The 30-pound long-tailed rhesus macaque landed at the Plano school district's Holifield Science Learning Center more than two decades ago, abandoned by his young owner.

Face wasn't cut out for the zoo – too alpha male – but he found a permanent home in the center.

"I know it's a monkey, but he and I made faces at one another for 25 years," said Jim Dunlap, the center's director.

"It's enough to get you down."

Face was the third-oldest animal at the center, behind Alex, an 82-year-old parrot, and Katy the python, who is 32.

But Face, a primate with personality, might have been the best known.

He pursed his lips when he was hungry or happy to see somebody, Mr. Dunlap said.

Face didn't like people who wore hats or beards, and he didn't like being interrupted while watching television.

Students who met Face on field trips came back to visit him when they'd grown up, Mr. Dunlap said.

"He was one you could really interact with," said Dr. Randall Hickman, a McKinney veterinarian who treated Face.

Face took his treat as usual as the learning center closed Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, a janitor found the monkey face down in his cage.

The veterinarian's autopsy was inconclusive, but it showed that Face's kidneys and pancreas had shrunk with age.

Mr. Dunlap just figures it was time for Face, who'd reached the end of his life expectancy.

He said the center's employees agreed to cremate Face and keep his ashes with them.

"We're just going to bring him back home," Mr. Dunlap said. "He seemed pretty happy here."

Story here.

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