Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two Monkeys Stolen From Wildlife Park

deanna monkeyTwo rare monkeys have been stolen from an Oxfordshire wildlife park.

The pair of female squirrel monkey's Deana and Stripe, were taken from their enclosure at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, near Burford, on Monday.

They are classed as an endangered species and there is a Europe-wide breeding programme to boost numbers.

Police are worried the animals could be "severely traumatised" by their ordeal and have warned people not to approach them in case they bite.

PC Simon Towers, Thames Valley Police Wildlife Officer, said he thinks the animals may have been stolen to order for an illegal collector.

"This is a highly unusual crime," he said. "There has not been a similar theft of a monkey nationally since 2006.

"Squirrel monkeys are not the most valuable and people do have them in private collections - but this was a very well planned and executed theft."

He added: "We are very concerned about their welfare - they have a highly specialised diet and would be severely traumatised by the experience so we need to recover them as soon as possible.

"I would also like to advise the public that while they might be cute-looking animals, they are wild, may be frightened and could easily bite someone."

Police have asked for anyone who saw any suspicious vehicles in the area of the park on Monday night to contact them.

Story here.

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