Four monkeys who were stolen from Blackpool Zoo and abandoned by the thieves have impressed staff with how well they settled back in – but staff have given up hope of ever seeing a fifth which is still missing.
The rescued primates have defied expectations after showing no long-term ill effects from the ordeal, zoo staff said.
Staff feared the monkeys may never have been able to reintegrate with the group but say they are delighted with how they are doing – but have now lost hope of finding the fifth one alive.
Two critically endangered female cotton-top tamarins and two male emperor tamarins were found in a cardboard box in West Yorkshire shortly after the police investigation made national news – but the missing baby cotton-top was never found.
Primate head of section at the Zoo Charlotte Pennie said the monkeys had to be put in a crate to keep them safe when they were first reintroduced into the enclosure, in case others no longer recognised them and attacked.
She added: “That was a serious concern but with the speedy return we got them back in time and managed to reintegrate them well.
“The female was very quiet when she first came back – that may have been the stress as well as the fact she was missing her baby.
“They had a few marks on them but otherwise they came back healthy.
“We were all so happy to get them back – to be honest to get any of them back was brilliant.
“But the baby was so dependent on its mother, I think we have come to the conclusion we are not going to see that one again.”
The monkeys were stolen from the Zoo overnight on April 29 after organised thieves cut a hole in the fence on Woodside Drive.
A police spokesman said: “Investigations into the incident are ongoing.
“Anyone with information should call 101.”