Feb 112012

It was time for the Barbary macaques to undergo their annual physical examinations. Keepers entered monkey island, nets in hand, to herd the monkeys into their underground holding facilities where they would be crated for the trip to the animal hospital. The staff had this procedure down to a routine; it had been done many times without mishap.

One energetic juvenile male, however, wanted no part of the holding cages. Instead, he climbed the rock-work to the top of the waterfall. Seeing an avenue of escape he made a tremendous leap, cleared the moat with room to spare, and landed in a baby stroller right in the lap of a very surprised child.

Neither the monkey nor the child were injured, and after a brief, stunned moment the macaque dashed away. After leading the pursuing keepers on an extended chase through the zoo (including a shortcut across the top of the jaguar cages) the monkey took refuge on the loading dock of a restaurant on the zoo grounds. After several minutes of searching among the piles of large boxes stored there, the keepers safely captured the macaque and returned him to monkey island. The irony in this story is that even after such a spectacular demonstration of his athletic abilities, the monkey still had to endure the physical.

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