Escaped monkey headed for Gainesville - if caught
Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 9:59 p.m.
RACELAND, La. - An escaped domesticated capuchin monkey is destined for a home in Gainesville - if rescuers can find him.
"Ebi" escaped from his cage Thursday and has been seen at least twice since then. Police are searching for the monkey and hope to pick him up soon. Once they find him, Ebi will be checked by a veterinarian, then shipped to Jungle Friends Primate Center, a privately funded nonprofit monkey sanctuary in Gainesville.
Ebi is described by Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry Weidel as grayish in color, and standing about 2¶ feet tall. He is of the type known as an "organ grinder's" monkey, he said.
"We're trying to catch him so he can go to the sanctuary," Dustin Crowley, 14, said this morning.
Crowley is the son of Angela and Randy Walker, who are known for taking in unwanted animals. Late last week a couple in the area dropped the monkey off with the Walkers. They told the Walkers that the monkey had been a pet for eight years, but they could no longer keep him because they now have children and are concerned for their children's safety.
The Walkers said the owners claimed they would shoot Ebi if they didn't take him, said Kari Bagnall, director of Jungle Friends in Gainesville. The Walkers discovered Jungle Friends Primate Center online, she said, and contacted the organization.
The owners said they kept him caged most of the time, Crowley said. Ebi escaped when the Walkers left just one lock on the cage while getting food for him. When the garage door was opened, the monkey fled.
Bagnall and another volunteer, Nicole Haas, left Florida Sunday night to help capture the monkey, said Larry Coyne, a Jungle Friends Primate Center volunteer reached by phone Monday.
Coyne said if Ebi could be found he probably would fit in well at Jungle Friends Primate Center. The organization houses about 34 monkeys, at least two of which are Ebi's species of capuchin, also known as "white-chested" or "cinnamon" monkeys.
"We slowly get them socialized with other monkeys," he said. Since Ebi has not lived with other monkeys, Jungle Friends first will house him separately from the others, but close enough so he can see them. Then they will move his housing closer, so the animals can start touching. When volunteers are sure the monkeys will not hurt each other, they will let them live together, Coyne said.
(Rose-Marie Lillian writes for The Daily Comet in Thibodaux, La.)
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