- The Washington Times - Monday, July 3, 2006

ROANOKE (AP) — Animal control officers and Mill Mountain Zoo staff resumed their search for an escaped monkey this morning.

The 20-pound female Japanese macaque named Oops escaped around 8:30 a.m. yesterday when the animals were being moved from their holding cells to the exhibit to be fed and cleaned, said David Jobe, education curator at the zoo.

“At some point during that shifting, either an error was made or a piece of equipment malfunctioned,” Mr. Jobe said. “We’re not completely sure of the cause.”

Oops could become dangerous if approached but wouldn’t go out of her way to hurt someone who was not threatening her, Mr. Jobe said.

A daylong search yesterday was unsuccessful. Mr. Jobe said hunger pangs might bring Oops out of hiding.

“We hope that because they’re active in the daytime, she slept last night and woke up this morning hungry,” Mr. Jobe said today. “We hope to take advantage of a hungry monkey.”

At 11, Oops was the youngest of four so-called snow monkeys at the zoo.

She got her name because the other monkeys were not supposed to reproduce.

Mr. Jobe said this is Oops’ first trip out of the zoo. Though the staff hadn’t seen her since yesterday morning, they had heard her throughout the day in the forest that surrounds the zoo, he said.

Mr. Jobe said the search was concentrated in a forest within earshot of the zoo because officials did not believe Oops would stray too far from her family.

The 4-acre zoo sits on a mountain inside a Roanoke city park. About 75,000 people visit the zoo each year.

Oops is the first animal to escape the zoo’s grounds in its 55-year history, Mr. Jobe said.

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