The Scottish snow monkey that escaped for a tense five days and became a social media sensation

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A timeline of Honshu’s escape and rescue. 

Honshu the Japanese macaque escaped from his enclosure in the highland wildlife park in Kincraig last Sunday (28th January).

Reports from local residents started to pile in saying that they had spotted something bizarre – a monkey in their garden!

News of Honshu’s escape sparked an immediate search with the Highland Wildlife park asking no one to approach the escapee if they spotted him.

The zoo stated on their website: “Although we don’t expect the monkey to be a threat to the public or pet animals, he should not be approached.”  

The monkey-hunt was on with locals being asked to make sure food and waste bins were not left outside in fear it could slow down the monkey’s return.

A drone company was also drafted in, scouring the area for the escapee.

On the same day, residents reported seeing teams armed with nets and tranquilliser guns trying to encourage the monkey down from a mound, but the operation proved unsuccessful. 

On Tuesday the 30th of January Kieth Gilchrist, the living collections operations manager at the Highland Wildlife Park provided the public with an update:

“There has been a sighting of the macaque this morning, which we are currently responding to”. The wildlife park assured the public that their expert team was keeping a close eye on the local area and trying to lure Honshu back into the park – now thermal drones were also being used to track the monkey’s movements which you can view via this link:  https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/yc3zr820a9s0bbxisgsw4/h?rlkey=85p8iagz6djvjm31ojksbipi2&dl=0 

24 hours later and Mr. Gilchrist brought more positive news telling the public that drones were able to capture the macaque for 45 minutes the prior day. He said: “Unfortunately, he wasn’t in a position where we were confident we could bring him in safely but he is making his way closer to the park”.

The moment the escaped monkey was finally captured.

After a long and tense 5 days, the wildlife park announced on February 1st that Honshu had made a safe return home.

“We can confirm we have successfully caught that macaque that escaped from the park on Sunday named Honshu. After a call to our hotline at 10 am our keepers and drone team made their way to a member of the public’s garden where the monkey was eating from a bird feeder and successfully used a tranquilliser dart to catch him”. 

The park thanked the public for helping in Honshu’s safe return home and said the monkey was on its way back to the zoo to be re-introduced to sub-adult males within the group. 

On Friday, David Field, the zoo’s chief executive officer said the celebrity was keeping well: “He doesn’t seem to have lost any weight and has apparently consumed quite a lot of peanuts during the past five days! He will now slowly be reintroduced to other sub-adult males within the group”. 

And what was it that lured him in – apparently it was a Yorkshire pudding!

Locals uploaded videos of the times they spotted Honshu over his 5-day escape. The monkey was spotted stealing seeds from a bird feeder in a member of the public’s back garden. 

Another local in Kincraig spotted the monkey outside of their window. 

Video shows Honshu stealing food from a local’s bird feeder.

How Honshu took over the internet with AI images 

During the chaos awaiting Honshu’s safe return home, people took to social media to share their ai generated images of the Scottish snow monkey. Posts went viral on Twitter capturing Honshu escaping from police in the Scottish Highlands while wearing a kilt. 

Another AI photo shows Honshu being caught by police. 

The creator of most of the viral images circling the internet is the account, heb memes, Lewis and Harris on Facebook.  

AI-generated pictures of Honshu brought in a whopping 1.3k shares on Facebook.

Could the Scottish Macaque be The Highland Wildlife Centre’s claim to fame?

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