A monkey named Cheeky Chops that escaped from Fota Wildlife Park has proved to not be very curious about the outside world, instead preferring to set up camp in the visitor car park before being coaxed home.
Reports that a male Colobus monkey – a resident of the park for eight years - had been spotted along the Fota road emerged on Facebook on Thursday after drivers had spotted the animal.
It soon became clear the primate had made like a banana and split from the facility - making his way down the main road outside the park but before turning back and heading for the car park.
Fota Wildlife Park's escape protocol was immediately put into action and the animal was discovered in a nearby public toilet, where he spent the night.
Yesterday afternoon the cheeky monkey had been tracked to a tree in the visitor car park. Animal rangers were trying to coax him out but he appeared to not 'give a monkey's' about their pleas before finally agreeing to go home.
Fota Wildlife Park spokesperson Roisin Fitzgerald said the Cheeky Chops was never in danger.
“On Tuesday one of our residents, Cheeky Chops, a Colobus monkey made a daring escape from his habitat here at Fota Wildlife Park.
“Our escape protocol and procedures were immediately implemented by Fota Wildlife Park’s animal ranger team and earlier today Cheeky Chops was safely rescued.
“He returned to the Wildlife Park car park this morning where he remained under observation and after a few hours of coaxing with his favourite treats of boiled potatoes, avocado, peanuts and bananas the rangers were able to entice him into a secure holding pen within the Wildlife Park grounds.
“Cheeky Chops has now been safely reunited with the other three members of his bachelor group, who welcomed him back with lots of grooming! Eight-year-old Cheeky Chops has been happily living here with his fellow Colobus Monkeys for eight years. At no time was Cheeky Chops in danger, or a threat to any visitors or members of the public.” Fully grown Colobus monkeys normally weight between 15-30 lbs and are 30 inches in length. They are omnivorous and can live up to 20 years in captivity.
“We are constantly reviewing our animal welfare policies here at Fota Wildlife Park, so that we can continue to improve our animal and visitors’ experiences and ensure that the animals who live here can continue to thrive,” Ms Fitzgerald added.