Dizzy the monkey still on the loose

Zoo employees used mild tranquilizer, food to try to lure him back to enclosure

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Workers at the Zoo at Forest Park were trying for a third day to capture a monkey who escaped from his enclosure. For much of the day, they had eyes on “Dizzy,” and were closer than ever before to getting him back safe inside his enclosure, but they lost sight of him again Wednesday afternoon.

Zoo Business Manager Darlene Blaney told 22News that they’ve been using a mild tranquilizer and apricots, his favorite food, to try to lure him out of the tree canopy and into his enclosure. Two tranquilizer darts were shot at Dizzy, they both missed.

Wednesday night, Zoo officials planned on illuminating Dizzy’s enclosure as the sun went down in Springfield to make it easier for him to find.

Meghan Rothschild, who is on the Board of Directors for the Zoo at Forest Park, said they would likely use extra food and infrared cameras to search for Dizzy at night. There will be zoo staff near the enclosure around the clock with the Springfield Police and the head zookeeper, who are armed with tranquilizer guns.

Rothschild said the tranquilizer darts are low dose, they take about half and hour to kick in. She said Dizzy is smart and will not starve. He eats leaves, insects and berries. He is likely tired and sleeping in a tree somewhere.

Shortly before noontime on Wednesday, Dizzy jumped down off a tree canopy and onto the top of a monkey enclosure, where there are other monkeys.

Dizzy the MonkeyZoo officials later used a lift to get a closer look at Dizzy, but spooked by the lift, he began jumping from tree to tree. At one point he jumped to a tree outside of the Zoo’s perimeter fence.

The key to the success of this effort rests with the public. Zoo officials asked everyone who gathered outside of the zoo Wednesday afternoon to stay quiet and avoid making any sudden movements.

Related: Monkey escaped enclosure at zoo

Prior to the lift incident, Dizzy was scared off twice. Once by loud onlookers and most recently by a teenager who threw a hat at dizzy as he was about to reenter his habitat.

Zoo officials are assuring the public that Dizzy does not pose a threat. The 12 pound monkey is naturally territorial, and only wants to reenter his habitat where he feels safe.

Rothschild said they’re an independent non-profit and do not decide if Forest Park should close; the park is run by the City of Springfield. Dizzy is 8 years old, he has been at the Forest Park Zoo for the past 2 years. Prior to that, he and his mate Mitzy were at the Southwick Zoo in Mendon, Mass.

Zoo officials have delayed the opening of the zoo until Dizzy is safely back home and back with Mitzy. “We will open the zoo once he is back and we will post pictures of Dizzy in his exhibit with Mitzy. He wants to get home. His mate misses him. He wants to be home and we are working to get him there,” Blaney said.

Dizzy is extremely smart. Rothschild said it is good news that he is staying close to his enclosure. It’s an indicator that he knows where his home is and wants to return.

22News will continue to follow this story, and bring you the latest information, on-air and on WWLP.com, when it becomes available.

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