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'Mango' the escaped monkey has a new home at Elmvale Zoo

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

South Simcoe police tweeted this shot of a small monkey that escaped July 3 from its Alcona home.

South Simcoe police tweeted this shot of a small monkey that escaped July 3 from its Alcona home.

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INNISFIL — Mango will soon be swinging through the trees with fellow capuchin monkeys.

The pesky primate escaped from a Linden Street residence in Alcona at approximately 6 a.m. Sunday after being startled by fireworks earlier in the evening.

Before it was lured to safety by South Simcoe police and Bear Creek Animal Sanctuary staff, it was captured on social media loping through the neighbourhood and jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

A banana even came in handy as officers attempted to corral the monkey.

Police were alerted to the monkey mayhem by text, according to Sgt. Rich Williamson.

"I got a text that guys were chasing a monkey around the backyard around 6 a.m.," he said. "By 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m., Bear Creek Animal Sanctuary had attended and helped us corral it and return it to the owners.

"At one point, it took a banana from one of our officers but that's as close as we could get to it."

The owners did not have Mango for long, however.

Under the town’s animal control bylaws, 'all non-human primates such as monkeys, apes, chimpanzees, lemurs' are prohibited, so the search was on to find a new home for Mango.

Sam Persi, who has owned the Elmvale Zoo for 44 years, got a call from the owner asking if the monkey could be donated to the facility north of Barrie to find a new home.

Persi was more than happy to oblige.

"She is healthy and was well taken care of," he said of Mango. "The veterinarian looked her over this morning and said she is 100%.

"She will stay for two or three weeks in one place (separated from the other capuchin monkeys)," he said. "We want to be sure (she is acclimatized) before we introduce her to the other monkeys."

Although Mango was healthy, Persi doesn't recommend having one at home.

"They are not a good house pet," he said. "Here, she'll have a nice enclosure."

Scott Morris saw the critter in front of his Linden Street home Sunday morning.

"My wife said, 'Here he comes'. It was hilarious," he said. "It was just walking along the street. Police and the owners were chasing it down the street."

David Hynes, of the Innisfil/Alcona Neighbourhood Watch, didn't have a chance to see Mango making her rounds but also found the idea of a monkey on the loose quite comical.

"A monkey on the roof of a house in Innisfil is not something you see every day," he said adding he didn't think it was particularly dangerous.

"Not at all. I wish I had one myself. I could train it to bring me a beer," he said chuckling.

The owners, however, may not find the incident that amusing.

"This is the most memorable encounter we’ve had with an exotic pet," said Town of Innisfil spokesman Johnny Keogh. "We’re just happy this monkey business has come to an end with a happy ending.

"We have also launched an open and active investigation to see what we can learn from this. We like to think we are also smart primates," he said.

While the investigation is continuing, the owners could be facing a fine of up to $5,000, he added.

"It is something that is possible. We do have that option," Keogh said.

(With file from Cheryl Browne)

imcinroy@postmedia.com



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