A lock-pickin' primate described by handlers as "a smart little monkey" busted from his pen and escaped the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo early Tuesday.
The antics of Oliver, the white-face capuchin, sparked the summer's second citywide search for a loose mammal, and it was his second time to break free of his confines in the last few years.
In the city's first animal caper this year, a young bull broke loose from an unknown location and eluded police and freelance cowboys for one month. It was spotted downtown and near the Buffalo Park before being caught behind the Daily Journal's South Green Street offices in July - on Friday the 13th.
Oliver apparently picked the lock to his pen about 8 a.m. and led park staff on a wild chase through their trail system before eventually escaping.
"He's a smart little monkey," said park employee Ann Stewart.
Indeed. This is actually Oliver's second leg on the lam. About six years ago, the frisky primate fled the home of Buffalo Park owner Dan Franklin and roamed the Tupelo Country Club grounds for roughly two weeks.
This time, police and animal-control officers are on the look-out for Oliver, but park staffers also seek help from residents to steer home the wayward monkey.
"If you see him, call us," said Stewart, who said the small mammal will respond to his own name and might take bait of bananas, marshmallows or grapes.
Do not try to touch him, though, Stewart warned: "He will bite. People around here have handled him, but he will bite. Just call the Buffalo Park."
Oliver is a 9-year-old capuchin, a common species of monkey native to South and Central America and best known as an organ grinder's sidekick. A capuchin also played Marcel in the hit TV series "Friends."
Stewart thinks Oliver could be in the Country Club or Colonial Estates areas but said he could have traveled much farther given his knack for speed.
"He could outrun the horses," she said. "You can't catch him. If he doesn't want to be caught you can't catch him."