Monkey Thief Needs Theft Class

by Mike Miller January 18, 2012

It seems like anything that is not bolted down, as well as many things that are, are being stolen. Even the flying monkeys are not safe!

A beloved squirrel monkey known as Banana Sam was returned scared but safe to the San Francisco Zoo, two days after he was taken.

Banana Sam was “hungry, trembling and thirsty,” after police returned him to the zoo, but a full physical examination showed he was healthy.

The 17-year-old monkey was found at Stern Grove, a park about a mile from the zoo. The monkey was found by a bystander who saw him come out of the bushes.

The monkey-saver managed to coax the monkey into his backpack. No one has been arrested and no suspects have been identified.

Banana Sam’s theft prompted the zoo to boost security and keep the other 17 squirrel monkeys indoors.

He was taken after thieves cut through a gate and made holes in the mesh surrounding the monkey exhibit.

A $5,000 reward had been offered for his safe return.

The two-pound, one-foot-tall Banana Sam at 17 is an elder among squirrel monkeys, whose lifespan is about 20 years.

Common squirrel monkeys like him are not endangered, and are often seen in pet markets and medical research. While some states allow keeping monkeys as pets, in California it is illegal.

As an avid zoo-goer I used to watch the monkeys for hours. I got to know them by name as I befriended the zookeepers. I am glad to hear the little fella is back where he belongs.

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