Monkey Lost Since Saturday on Vancouver Island Continues to Evade Capture

June 1, 2018 Last Updated: June 1, 2018

COWICHAN LAKE, B.C.—Despite efforts to locate a small capuchin monkey in the bush of southern Vancouver Island, the little primate was still loose Thursday, almost a week after it escaped from a private facility.

The male capuchin went missing Saturday from its enclosure at Primate Estates in Lake Cowichan, said Sgt. Scott Norris of the Conservation Officer Service.

Capuchin monkeys are native to South and Central America, weigh less than five kilograms and have brown or black bodies with cream fur around the face, neck and shoulders, the Rainforest Alliance says on its website.

They are only known to descend from treetops to find water, making the search even more challenging because Norris says the bush around Lake Cowichan is dense.

“The area is surrounded by forest and it’s a tiny little monkey. They’re only a couple of feet tall. It’s not like we’re looking for a giant baboon or something like that that’s going to stick out,” he said.

Capuchin monkeys eat bugs and vegetation, so the forest does provide some food for the escaped primate, but Norris said there is concern about its future.

“Long-term prognosis, obviously it would need to be in a shelter and get high-quality food or else it won’t survive,” he said.

Live traps have been set with food to entice it. Conservation officers and the owners of the facility have scoured the area, but so far there haven’t been any confirmed sightings, Norris said.

He said anyone who spots the monkey should not approach it because it could bite, although the risk to the public is considered low.

Sightings can be reported to the conservation service’s 24-hour hotline, which handles all calls related to wildlife-human interactions where public safety may be at risk.

“We’re still hoping that it will show itself somewhere and we can catch it or the owners can catch it,” Norris said. “At the end of the day, they’re just hoping to get him back.”