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Monkey that Escaped Scottish Zoo Spotted Munching on Veggies from Local Gardens

"You would think we were chasing an international fugitive instead of an innocent monkey,” joked a Kincraig, Scotland resident

<p>The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland </p> A Japanese macaque at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

A Japanese macaque at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland.

One monkey is on a self-guided tour of the Scottish highlands.

A Japanese macaque monkey fled to the Scottish highlands after escaping his enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie, Scotland, on Sunday, according to The Royal Zoological Society (RZZS) of Scotland.

The Highland Wildlife Park officials have been searching for the monkey since his escape and enlisted the help of residents as well as the use of thermal drones to help locate the monkey.

Kingussie and Kincraig, Scotland residents cheekily named the monkey “Kingussie Kong," reports The New York Times. The missing monkey is a Japanese macaque, commonly referred to as a snow monkey that is native to Japan.

“There has been a sighting of the macaque this morning, which we are currently responding to,” Keith Gilchrist, Highland Wildlife Park’s living collections operations manager said in a statement Tuesday.

<p>Alamy</p> Polar Bear enclosure in Highland Wildlife Safari Park, Scotland

Alamy

Polar Bear enclosure in Highland Wildlife Safari Park, Scotland

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“Throughout the day our expert team of animal keepers will be patrolling the local area using a variety of techniques to try and coax him in, as well as using our thermal image drone contractor to aid with the search,” continued Gilchrist. “Cairngorms Mountain Rescue has also kindly offered to support with their thermal imaging drone.”

The macaque “is not presumed dangerous to humans or pets,” but the Highland Wildlife Park still advises people not to approach the animal.

The “Kingussie Kong” is part of a monkey troop of 36 other monkeys at the zoo, reports BBC Scotland News.

"It's a very dynamic group of animals with quite a strong hierarchy," Gilchrist told the BBC.

"This time of year is breeding season, so tensions run a little bit high, and sometimes fights break out over breeding rights,” Gilchrist continued. "When that happens, the animals' adrenaline can sometimes override everything, and rather than get into a fight, it seems this one has just gone for it and got past the enclosure perimeter fence."

<p>The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland </p> A Japanese macaque at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

A Japanese macaque at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland.

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Kincraig resident Carl Nagle told BBC Scotland News that he spotted the monkey outside his window on Sunday.

"I looked out the window and there he was, proud as punch, standing against the fence eating nuts that had fallen down from one of the bird feeders," Nagle said.

"He wandered around the garden a bit - we thought he'd gone, but he came back, and then he was up on the bird feeders trying to get into them. He was having a really good go - he worked harder at it than a squirrel."

“There’s been a daily epic monkey hunt going on in this village in the last couple of days,” Nagle told The New York Times. “You would think we were chasing an international fugitive instead of an innocent monkey.”

“It looked at me; I looked at him,” Nagle continued. “He knew he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.”

Nagle called animal keepers after spotting the monkey, but it had headed back into the direction of trees by the time they arrived, Nagle told the Times. While “Kingussie Kong” was spotted again on Tuesday, the animal has yet to be rescued and returned to the Highland Wildlife Park.

“Everybody is rooting for this monkey,” he told the Times. “He must be having a ball living his best life.”

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