Monkey ‘just sitting on the side of the road’ belonged at Kansas zoo, cops say

A zoo in Dodge City, Kansas, is beefing up security after a monkey that should have been inside its enclosure was discovered on the run in the city, according to zoo officials.

“There was a monkey, just sitting on the side of the road,” said Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis, according to KSNW.

The wild animal was found inside the city limits on Tuesday, Wright Park Zoo staff wrote in a Facebook post, adding that “after a quick inspection of the Capuchin Monkey exhibit, it was determined that the animal called in was Pickett from the Wright Park Zoo troop.”

Animal control captured the monkey and brought him back to the zoo, officials said.

Veterinary staff have given Pickett “a clean bill of health to return to its enclosure,” but it turned out that another animal in the exhibit had minor injuries, which veterinarians are treating, zoo officials said.

Staff at the zoo, which is operated by the city, said in the Facebook post that “at this time, it is unknown exactly how the animal became to be outside its enclosure.”

“Our head zookeeper had been here the night before and when she left, all monkeys were accounted for,” said Dodge City Public Information Officer Abbey Martin, explaining that officials learned the animal was missing when the roaming monkey report was called in, KSNW reported.

Police will conduct an investigation, zoo officials said.

“Additional security measures are being installed to further ensure the safety of our animals within the zoo,” officials wrote in the Facebook post. “If anyone has information related to this incident, please notify the Dodge City Police Department by contacting at 620 225-8126.”

Police said they’re looking into whether the animal had human help to escape.

“We’re still investigating to try and determine how the monkey got out of the enclosure,” Francis said, per KSNW. “Whether it was on his own or through some other persons’ intentional act.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.