Monday, August 24, 2009

Machu The Monkey Briefly Breaks Out Of Wellington Zoo

machu monkeyA tiny monkey's big day out ended abruptly when he got cold feet.

Pygmy marmoset Machu who weighs about 120 grams escaped from his enclosure at Wellington Zoo yesterday, a fortnight after he and female friend Picchu moved in.

He appeared to be following in the pawprints of Minty the monkey, who spent nearly a week on the run before being recaptured by Christchurch's Willowbank Wildlife Reserve last Wednesday.

Unlike Minty though, Machu strayed a matter of metres from home. He was recaptured two hours after he wriggled out through a crack in the enclosure.

In the open without Picchu, he proved to be a bit of a wuss, primate zookeeper Vimal Patel said. "He's quite nervous when she's not around so, as soon as he realised she wasn't following him, he kind of freaked out and stayed put."

After putting Picchu in a secure part of the enclosure, zoo staff cut holes in the enclosure's roof for Machu to climb back through.

"We did have to give him a little spook to get him across and down inside."

The pygmy pair were now staying in the zoo hospital until staff had blocked any gaps in their enclosure, he said.

"We've had a good look through the enclosure and there are a few small cracks that looked too small for them to get through, but ... "

Machu was unhurt but a bit shaken by his adventure.

Full story here.

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