The Capuchin monkey’s numbers have been dwindling in recent years due to the destruction of their habitats to make room for new construction. But you would think the Capuchins housed in a zoo should be safe. Sadly, a 35-year-old Capuchin monkey is believed to have been killed while protecting his son from an intruder at the zoo, a spokesperson announced. The zoo has asked anyone with additional knowledge of the incident to come forward.
The Wright Park Zoo in Dodge City announced the break-in happened on September 2. According to zoo personnel, Pickett, a small Capuchin monkey, was seen wandering outside its enclosure.
When they retrieved him and brought him back to his enclosure, zoo employees found Vern, an older Tufted Capuchin monkey injured. Vern was rushed to surgery as he had extensive damage to his kneecap. Vern was placed in a cast and left to heal overnight, ABC News reported.
When employees arrived back the following morning, Vern was found unresponsive. A necropsy is planned to be performed in the near future to determine the cause of death.
The head zookeeper at Wright Park, Hanna Schroeder, explained that Vern was very protective of the other monkeys, especially his offspring. “Vern is very protective of the younger monkey and would not have let him go without a fight.”
Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis announced they believe an intruder broke into the enclosure based on preliminary evidence.
“Based on DCPD’s investigation … we do not believe the little monkey, Pickett, found his way outside the enclosure on his own,” Francis said. “Nor do we believe he traveled to where he was found on his own. His father’s injury appears to be from blunt force trauma in excess of what would occur from a fall.”
Francis is asking for the public’s help in determining who is responsible. “Though I doubt the culprit has the decency to come forward,” Francis said, “I also suspect someone may know who committed this act or have an idea who would do this. If that’s you, we would greatly appreciate talking with you.”