Two of the three monkeys stolen from a NSW zoo have been found.
One of them is a four–week–old baby pygmy marmoset, which experts said would likely die if separated from its mother for more than 24 hours. It has been reunited with her.
It’s not clear if the other monkey, located Sunday evening, is nine–month–old Sophia or 10–year–old Gomez, who were also taken from the Symbio Wildlife Park on the NSW south coast on Saturday.
Police found the baby, which experts said would likely die if separated from their mother for more than 24 hours, in a car with two men on Sunday afternoon following a tip-off.
The men, aged 23 and 26, were charged with dealing with the proceeds of a crime on Sunday night.
The second marmoset was found on Sunday evening in the Campbelltown area after extensive inquiries by Wollongong police.
Both recovered monkeys have been returned to the wildlife park.
The search continues for the other marmoset.
“The baby monkey is on its way back to the wildlife park for further examination and care,” police said.
Anyone with information on the remaining monkey is urged to contact Crime Stoppers immediately.
Experts had warned that the baby, who is still dependent on its mother, would die if not found by Sunday.
A zookeeper told police the monkey’s twin, who was left at the zoo, could also die because the mother was too stressed to feed it.
Baby marmosets need constant care and feeding every few hours.
Park owner John Radnidge told Fairfax they could not have tracked down the baby without the public’s help.
“Yes, it has been returned back to us,” said Mr Radnidge. “It’s very, very frightened but in a reasonable condition.
“We are just leaving it to get some rest and quiet before reintroducing it to its mother.
“The mother is very stressed, as is the baby’s twin,” he said, adding that the tiny species required a very strict diet to survive.
“They will simply die unless they’re returned; there’s no benefit to anybody not having them with us,” he said.
The world’s smallest monkey
The pygmy marmoset is the world’s smallest monkey and one of the world’s smallest primates – second only to the Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur.
Pygmy marmosets are found in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
The species is not endangered in the wild, but Mr Radnidge pointed out the tiny monkey would look conspicuously out of place in any Australian home.
“You cannot keep a critically endangered species without being detected. If you have the world’s smallest monkey in your home people are going to wonder where you got it.”
Anyone with any information as to the remaining two monkeys’ whereabouts is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.