Monkey who escaped wildlife park for five days ‘consumed quite a lot of peanuts’


A cheeky monkey that spent five days on the run in the Scottish Highlands is “doing really well” after being captured and returned to a wildlife park.

It is thought that the Japanese macaque, named Honshu, may have got caught after being tempted by some Yorkshire pudding that had been left out overnight for the birds.

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Honshu – nicknamed Kingussie Kong – escaped from his enclosure at Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie on Sunday morning.

A major search operation was launched, and he was eventually shot with a tranquiliser dart after being spotted eating from a bird feeder in a garden less than two miles away from the park on Thursday.

Stephanie Bunyan, who alerted the authorities after spying Honshu snacking in her garden, told The Guardian that as well as peanuts in her feeders, she had also left out some Yorkshire pudding – which was gone by the morning.

Image: Honshu back in the park. Pic: RZSS/PA

In an update on Friday, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) – which runs the park – said Honshu does not appear to have lost any weight and seems to have “consumed quite a lot of peanuts” during his time in the wild.

After being caught, the monkey was returned to the park and checked over by experts and will now be gradually reintroduced to his group.

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David Field, chief executive of RZSS, said: “Honshu has been carefully monitored by our vets and keepers and is doing really well.

“He doesn’t seem to have lost any weight and has apparently consumed quite a lot of peanuts during the past five days.

“He will now slowly be reintroduced to other sub-adult males within the group.

“We want to say a huge thank you to the local community for their patience and cooperation throughout the past week, as well as our amazing staff at the park for their professionalism, patience and diligence.”

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Honshu back home

After escaping at the weekend, Honshu was seen sitting on a garden fence and taking nuts from a bird feeder in the nearby village of Kincraig.

Carl Nagle, who spotted the monkey on Sunday, told Sky News the animal disappeared into the trees before the keepers appeared.

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Local villagers were urged to hide their outdoor food waste bins and bird feeders in an effort to encourage the monkey to head home.

A drone was used in the search and experts were able to follow Honshu for 45 minutes on Tuesday using the device, though were not able to retrieve him that day.

The Japanese macaque, also known as the snow monkey, is the most northerly living non-human primate, according to the RZSS.

The wildlife park houses a “large group” of the monkeys after successfully breeding the species.