Picton residents cautiously unshuttered their windows and unbolted their doors after a 20-pound Japanese snow monkey was successfully sedated by police and returned to his home at a roadside zoo.
A neighbour spotted the animal, which was taken down by police with a tranquillizer dart about half a kilometer from his cage.
The Japanese macaque was first noticed missing from Bergeron’s Exotic Animal Sanctuary on Sunday morning. Police immediately began an intensive monkey-hunt, with officers conducting a hard target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse in the area. Authorities also issued a description of the small red-faced primate so that it wouldn’t be mistaken for one of the species of monkey native to Eastern Ontario.
The zoo has been controversial recently, with some animal rights groups and area residents asking that it be shut down as unsafe. A hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board to determine the fate of the zoo will take place from June 25 to July 6.
Free range monkeys and apes are rare in Ontario, unlike parts of British Columbia where Sasquatches roam widely and often blend in with the general population.
Photo courtesy Bergerons Exotic Animal Sanctuary.