Minty picks her moment

By Jarrod Booker

Minty was on the run for three days last year. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Minty was on the run for three days last year. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Minty, the free-roaming capuchin, is on the loose again - but it may not be a case of monkey business on her part this time.

The little brown monkey, about the size of a domestic cat, disappeared from her island at Christchurch's Willowbank Wildlife Reserve on Saturday, and was later spotted outside the reserve.

Minty first rose to fame when she escaped in August last year while being transferred between enclosures, and was loose for three days on the outskirts of the city before being lured home with the offer of a peanut.

The reserve manager, Jeremy Maguire, was not convinced this latest vanishing act was a carefully conceived plan on Minty's part.

It appeared she had somehow fallen into the moat around the island she shares with 10 other capuchins, got disoriented and swam the wrong way, and then sprang over the electric fence after getting a shock, Mr Maguire said.

"I don't know whether it was an intentional act. I think it may have just been an accident on her behalf.

They don't really show any signs of ever wanting to go out into the water at all. They avoid it at all costs."

Minty had not gone far, with sightings of her each day in the area around the reserve.

"There's a property just down the road that she's been seen in ... but it's not the easiest thing to catch a monkey, obviously."

She was fast and agile, and difficult to spot when she took to the trees. Searchers had to avoid panicking her, and were using food to try to entice her into a box, Mr Maguire said.

Unfortunately some people down the road had given her food.

While Minty was pretty harmless, if anyone tried to grab her she might defend herself by biting.

"If she's in your garage or something, shut the garage door by all means. But don't encourage her to go into your house ... because she will make a mess."

- NZ Herald

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