Back to monkey business following break-in at Wellington Zoo
April 9, 2018
Wellington Zoo’s squirrel monkeys have been given the all-clear by staff following a break-in at the zoo on Friday night.
Though the zoo’s outer perimeter fence was electrified, a contractor had left a service gate open, allowing access.
The intruders used bolt-cutters to cut a padlock into the neighbouring golden lion tamarins’ enclosure before entering the squirrel monkeys habitat through a zoo keeper door.
At least two of the 12female monkeys were left bruised and scratched, after staff believe an intruder attempted to grab them.
One monkey also suffered a haematoma on the elbow.
Though they are still being monitored they were given the all-clear by team leader of primates, Harmony Neale.
“They’re pretty resilient,” she said. “Thankfully there was nothing life-threatening and had there been something more serious we could have treated them on site at the veterinary hospital.
“We will be keeping a close eye on them.”
The monkeys seemed their usual selves, happily foraging on the floor for broccoli and other legumes as visitors flocked to the zoo on Sunday.
Though some monkeys stuck to the trees, several eagerly bounded up to the windowpane and performed aerobatic tricks.
Onlookers shared concerns for the victims of the break-in.
Ana So’otaga had spent the night at the zoo helping with a child’s birthday party and was saddened by the news.
“We woke up and heard there was increased security and everything. [The monkeys] seem very busy and happy looking for food this morning though.”
Many children were also concerned about the animals’ welfare asking their parents about the inciden
“It’s amazing they had the ability to fight back,” said Max Williams (10)
Tom Henderson, 9, was happy all monkeys were accounted for after it was mistakenly reported yesterday that one of the females was missing.
He was also concerned about what might have happened, had the would-be-thief succeeded. “You’ve got to have the right habitat. You can’t just have them in your living room and they’ve got to get the right food.”
Zoo staff were concerned about the sophistication of the incident and a will be conducting an internal enquiry.
A police investigation is also ongoing.
Police asked anyone with information to contact Wellington Police on 04 381 2000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.