Friday, September 19, 2014
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Hey, hey, it’s the monkey!

20120518_MonkeyCaptured_LEG7599MISSION — A primate who roamed citrus orchards in the northwestern part of the city was caught on Monday in a trap set up by City Of Mission Health Department workers last week.

City officials credited persistence and knowledge of the African patas monkey’s sweet tooth that brought an end to the monkey’s short lived, yet highly publicized, reign of freedom. Health department superviso Ernie Zapata said advice from Jerry Stones of the Gladys Porter Zoo helped he and his staff set up a trap with an assortment of fruit and sweet bread early Monday morning in hopes of luring the elusive primate into entering the trap and tripping the mechanism that would shut and lock the steel door.

With previous attempts at trapping the monkey with fruit as bait not netting any results, Zapata believes it was the sweet bread that made the difference.

“We got some cinnamon rolls and some banana nut bread because they told me that they really like sweet bread and apparently they do,” he said.

It took approximately six hours for the monkey to take the bait. Zapata said that he set the trap early Monday morning and that there was no change when he checked on it at 2:30 p.m. This reporter came across the trap and found the monkey inside the trap at 4:45 p.m. and alerted authorities.

20120518_MonkeyCaptured_LEG7677With the “Mission monkey” now in custody, Zapata delivered the primate to the Gladys Porter Zoo that had previously offered to house to monkey upon its capture. Zapata and animal control officer Noe Elizondo loaded the monkey, trap and all, into the back of a city truck and made the drive to Brownsville Monday evening.

Stones agreed to take the monkey even though he knew that the Gladys Porter Zoo would not be able to keep it.

“First of all, it has to go through quarantine and that’ll be 30 to 45 days,” Stones said.  “Then we have no use for it here. We’ll advertise it out in the zoo community to see if anybody is interested. It’s going to be doubtful because we don’t know anything about its lineage so it can’t be used for breeding.”

If no zoo is interested in taking him off their hands it will most likely end up in a sanctuary, Stones said. He said that there are sanctuaries around the country that take in unwanted pets, and quite a few that specialize in monkeys, so there are many viable options for the monkey’s long term housing and care.

With the Mission monkey now safely in the hands of experts at the Gladys Porter Zoo, Zapata and his staff can once again devote themselves fully to the business of responding to residents’ calls about stray dogs and cats. However should another monkey-on-the-loose call ever come into his office again, Zapata said that he will be ready to respond with plenty of cinnamon rolls and banana nut bread.

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