SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Zoo in Forest Park closed late Tuesday afternoon, as zoo employees tried to recapture a monkey that escaped from its enclosure.
Forest Park Zoo Business Manager Darlene Blaney told 22News Dizzy, a 12 pound Guenon monkey, had twisted a door knob and let himself out of his enclosure. At the time, a zoo employee had been cleaning out the enclosure, and exited in order to answer a question from a visitor.
On the Forest Park Zoo website, they described the event as “a circumstance that has never happened at the zoo and is very rare.” Blaney said the monkey was not a public threat.
Dizzy got into the trees above the zoo enclosure and jumped from limb to limb, until he cleared the fence around the zoo, and got into the trees throughout Forest Park, widening the search area considerably.
Melanie Robare of Springfield said, “It’s kind of nerve-wracking because it’s a monkey and I have my daughter here. It’s kind of scary but I’m pretty sure it’ll be safe.”
“I’m just surprised he didn’t come back sooner,” said John Romido of East Longmeadow. “He’s probably hungry, so he knows where to get food.”
After the sun went down, Springfield Police brought in high-tech search equipment; infrared cameras that can see warmer temperatures. They hope to scan the trees in the dark and track Dizzy by his body’s heat. The zoo also illuminated Dizzy’s cage so he could find it more easily.
A statement posted on the zoo’s website and Facebook page, however said that someone threw an object at the monkey, scaring him off. They now say it could be days before he returns to his enclosure.
Zoo officials are warning the public to stay away from the zoo while the search is underway. As soon as they find Dizzy, we will let you know.