Four monkeys stolen from zoo in England are found

Saturday 03 May 2014 20.23
The cotton-top tamarin is considered one of the world's most endangered primates (Pic: Lancashire Police)
The cotton-top tamarin is considered one of the world's most endangered primates (Pic: Lancashire Police)

Monkeys stolen from a zoo in England in what police said appeared to be a "planned and pre-meditated" break-in have been found.

Raiders cut a hole in the perimeter fence of Blackpool Zoo in Lancashire and removed the locks from two separate monkey enclosures on Tuesday.

They took two female and one baby cotton-top tamarin, which are a critically endangered species, and two male emperor tamarins.

But the zoo said four of the five had been recovered in Yorkshire and were now safely back at the zoo.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, it said: "We are absolutely delighted to confirm that four of the stolen tamarins are safely back at the zoo.

"Sadly, the baby was not found.

"They were recovered by police in Yorkshire late last night and their keeper drove over to collect them.

"We should like to thank everyone involved with the media and social media for spreading the word so far and wide yesterday and to the police and Wildlife Crime Unit for all their hard work and support."

After they were stolen, Lancashire Police said it believed the monkeys were targeted specifically and their details were circulated to all ports and airports in case the thieves tried to take them abroad.

The National Wildlife Crime Unit was also brought in to try to trace them.

The cotton-top tamarin is considered one of the world's most endangered primates.

There are said to be about 6,000 such monkeys left in the wild in their native Colombia, with numbers largely reduced through deforestation.