Wednesday 22 August 2007

Monkey escapes London Zoo (July 2006)

Visitors to Regent's Park witnessed some disgraceful monkey business today as a primate from London Zoo swung into action and made her Great Escape.
Betty, a 10-year-old squirrel monkey is still on the loose after she spotted her opportunity for freedom when staff left a branch of a tree next to her enclosure growing too long.Today crowds watched the monkey running through the trees as staff waited for the moment to tempt her back home.It also emerged that the cheeky monkey may have been plotting the breakout for some time.
A spokesperson said: "The monkeys have really been hurling themselves from tree to tree and can travel quite a long way." David Field, London Zoo's Zoological director said: "She's certainly made a monkey out of us! She is merely visiting the park."We train the monkeys to come back to their quarters and she will return later in the day when it becomes quieter. We will encourage her to come back with a favourite treat of mealworms."We have also separated the other squirrel monkeys who are calling to each other and that is also a way of getting her to come back. "She will be feeling vulnerable because she will not feel safe outside her familiar enclosure.
The monkeys are a very tight-knit group."Squirrel monkeys are very inquisitive, exploratory and active creatures who like to swing on their branches. "Part of the reason she left may have been the fruiting trees, since they like to eat fruit and leaf buds, as well as foraging for juicy grubs."They are not a dangerous animal – their enclosure is a walk through exhibit – and they pose no threat to the public. "However keepers are monitoring her to make sure she does not come down from the trees, since we wouldn't want her to meet a dog. "Their uniforms will also make her feel more reassured as she is used to them."The keepers found her out this morning. She will have escaped by a branch that was overhanging the enclosure. There are tree surgeons in there now making sure all the escape routes are closed."

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