Minia­ture mon­keys re­united af­ter zoo theft in Aus­tralia

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Two men were charged yes­ter­day with steal­ing rare pygmy mar­mosets from an Aus­tralian wildlife park as a baby was re­united with her mum and the hunt con­tin­ued to find dad. Three of the mon­keys, the world’s small­est, were snatched from their en­clo­sure at the Sym­bio Wildlife Park south of Syd­ney on Satur­day, with po­lice and zookeep­ers launch­ing a des­per­ate bid to lo­cate the suckling in­fant. There were fears it would die if away from its mother for more than 24 hours while keep­ers also wor­ried its twin would per­ish be­cause their mother was too stressed to feed. Af­ter a tip-off from the pub­lic, two men, aged 23 and 26, were ar­rested and charged yes­ter­day with deal­ing with the pro­ceeds of crime.

Po­lice found the un­named four-week-old in­fant in the men’s car and a 10-month-old fe­male, Sophia, at an­other ad­dress. But the fa­ther, Gomez, re­mains miss­ing. It was not clear why the mon­keys, which are na­tive to South Amer­ica and usu­ally about 20 cen­time­ters (eight inches) tall, were taken, but Sym­bio park man­ager Matthew Rad­nidge said there would have been a fi­nan­cial mo­ti­va­tion. “But in terms of value, an an­i­mal has a value of what­ever some­one per­ceives, so within the zoo and wildlife park in­dus­try, no money ever changes hands with these an­i­mal trans­fers,” he told ABC ra­dio.

Syd­ney’s Daily Tele­graph said mar­mosets, also known as thumb mon­keys, were in de­mand on the black mar­ket as pets, com­mand­ing prices of up to Aus$5,000 (US$3,700). The wildlife park said the hun­gry and scared baby had been re­united with its mother and sis­ter. “Mum cra­dled the baby straight into her arms and bub im­me­di­ately be­gan to feed,” the park said on its Face­book page. “Early ob­ser­va­tions this morn­ing are promis­ing, with two bright eyed twins ob­served on mum’s back-so a great re­sult.”—AFP

SYD­NEY: Photo shows a keeper car­ries a baby pug­gle in Syd­ney. Syd­ney’s Taronga Zoo is cel­e­brat­ing its first suc­cess­ful echidna births in 30 years with three healthy ba­bies, known as pug­gles, from three dif­fer­ent mums hatch­ing within days of each other. — AFP

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