• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Monkey mania: Honshu the Highland Monkey returns to its home after days on the loose

ByLara van Vorst

Feb 6, 2024
Monkey with red face

Honshu, the snow monkey that escaped from the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig, returned to its home on 2 February. 

The Japanese macaque had escaped from its home the previous weekend and was first sighted on Sunday morning 28 February, when Carl Nagle from nearby Kincraig spotted the animal in his garden. 

The snow monkey was eating nuts that had fallen from a bird feeder.

Following Nagle’s call, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which runs the Wildlife Park, called for a search party to find and secure the monkey.

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The search was carried out mostly by drone operators from BH Wildlife Consultancy and Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, who used thermal imaging technology to search the area for heat.  

They were able to spot the monkey several times but could not get a hold of it.

In addition to the drones, a monkey hotline was established, and residents were encouraged to call in with information about the animal’s whereabouts.

Eventually, Highland Wildlife Park keepers were able to return the monkey to the park after a resident from Insh, which is almost 2.5 kilometres away from the park, spotted the monkey peering in her window on Friday, 2 February. 

The monkey was “trapped by a yorkshire pudding”, as a few went missing in the garden where the monkey was eventually spotted.

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The snow monkey had previously been seen on video footage near the entrance to the park, leading keepers to believe it was trying to make its way back home. 

According to ranger Stuart Owen, this is common behaviour for snow monkeys. 

“As a social species, it is their instinct to want to stay close to home, the term for that is ‘Natal philopatry.’

“They are faithful to the place they were born and the monkeys they were raised by.” 

Highland Wildlife Park veterinarian Rebecca Amos says the monkey is well despite his journey.

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“He is actually in fantastic shape. 

“He looked a little discombobulated to be back in the cage, but he has responded remarkably well, all things considered, because he covered some ground.” 

He added that the monkey does not appear to have lost any weight, having consumed “quite a lot of peanuts” while on the loose. 

Macaque, Snow Monkey, Jigokudani Monkey Park, Jigokudani Yaen-koen, Jigokudani Yaen Koen, Jigokudani, Yamanouchi, Nagano, Japan, 野猿, サル, 地獄谷野猿公苑, じごくだにやえんこうえん, 山之內町, 山ノ内町, やまのうちまち, やまのうち, 長野, ながのし, 長野縣, 長野県, ながのけん, 日本, にっぽん, にほん” by bryan… is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.