Thursday, August 28, 2008

Escapee Monkey Lured Home With A Peanut

mintyMinty the runaway monkey was no hard nut to crack as she was lured back to her home at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve by a single peanut.

The monkey escaped from the Christchurch reserve while being transferred between enclosures last Wednesday.

She was spotted up a tree on Saturday morning by a man walking his labrador dog in a park 500m from Minty's Belfast home.

Willowbank director Kathy Rangiwananga said that when a keeper offered Minty a peanut, the capuchin leapt onto the keeper's shoulder and was popped munching on her prize into a cage.

Rangiwananga said the little runaway was probably starving after being away from home for three cold nights.

"Minty could have found food in vegetable gardens or food scraps but she's used to having her food put on for her, so it's likely she wouldn't have had anything to eat since she ran away."

Rangiwananga said Minty's movements during her three nights of freedom remained a mystery but she would have had to cross a river.

Veterinary staff had to sedate Minty after her recapture to check she was fine and insert a microchip. She was placed back in the capuchin enclosure yesterday afternoon.

One of Minty's keepers, Kirsten Ferlazzo, said the monkey was happy to be home and lapping up the attention from relieved staff.

"She hasn't gelled totally back with the others yet. There's been no cuddles, but they seem happy to have her back and haven't been aggressive," Ferlazzo said.

"There were a lot of sleepless nights while she was missing but now she's back, we're very, very happy."

Story here.

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