Danville monkey losing race to avoid chilly fate

Carrie McLaren carrie at stayfreemagazine.org
Sun Nov 11 14:00:55 EST 2001



Copyright 2001 Union Leader Corp.  
The Union Leader (Manchester NH)
November 06, 2001 Tuesday ALL EDITIONS

SECTION: SECTION A Pg. 1

LENGTH: 691 words

HEADLINE: Danville monkey losing race to avoid chilly fate

BYLINE: JASON SCHREIBER Union Leader Correspondent

BODY:
DANVILLE -- Authorities are trying to find someone trained in the use 
of a tranquilizer gun willing to hang out in the woods for a day in 
one final attempt to capture an elusive monkey.

Animal control officer Denise Laratonda made the plea yesterday, 
saying time is running out for the Capuchin monkey first sighted in 
the woods last August.  The monkey's owner has never come forward.

Several tranquilizer gun owners had offered to help, telling 
searchers to call them as soon as the monkey is spotted.  The problem 
is that the monkey would most likely be gone by the time someone 
arrives to tranquilize it, Laratonda said. "Within a five-minute span 
he could be gone.  We need someone willing to spend a whole day doing 
it.  We need to find someone who is as committed as we are who will 
sit out there with us," Laratonda said. Laratonda and another 
searcher saw the monkey in the trees just a few days ago in the same 
wooded area where he's been hiding out for the last several 
weeks.  "He only lets you within 25 feet of him and then he's 
straight up a tree and gone," she said.

The state Fish and Game Department has individuals trained in the use 
of tranquilizer guns, but spokesman Eric Aldrich said yesterday he is 
not sure how a monkey hunt would rank in terms of the department's 
priorities.

Involving Fish and Game officials "would require a significant amount 
of manpower," Aldrich said, adding, "I know time's running out for 
the monkey, but we've got other species that need a lot of work."

Laratonda said the Danville Police Department contacted the Fish and 
Game Department when the search for the monkey began, but was told 
the department didn't want to get involved.  That has left Laratonda 
to coordinate the monkey search on the local level.  She is asking 
anyone with a tranquilizer gun who is trained to use it to contact 
her through Rockingham County Dispatch, 679-2225.

There is growing concern that cold weather will kill the monkey if 
he's not found soon.  The primate has already become less 
active.  "He's slowing down and staying still a lot more," Laratonda 
said.

Searchers refuse to give up, but Laratonda said she believes the 
monkey will only survive another two weeks outdoors.  

Several residents who have seen the animal scurrying around their 
neighborhood or heard him hooting in the trees said they have little 
hope the wild animal, which hails from the forests of Central and 
South America, will survive.

At one point the monkey was seen hanging out in the woods behind 
Sheila Lemieux's Spruce Road home, but she hasn't seen him lately.

"I'm hoping he just moved on, but I don't think it looks good for 
him," she said.  "I was hoping they caught him and just didn't tell 
anybody."

Lemieux's 10-year-old son, Seth, recently asked if the monkey had 
been caught.  Lemieux said she told him she thought it had been found 
because she didn't want to tell her son the animal could die out in 
the cold.

Paul Bernard, who also lives in the Spruce Road neighborhood, feels 
the animal will not make it now that colder weather has set in.

"It's getting a little too chilly for us, never mind the monkey.  I 
don't hold too many hopes for him.  They should have been able to get 
him by now," he said.

Searchers have gone to great lengths to catch the animal.  They've 
baited trees with bananas and oranges and even brought a female 
monkey in hopes her mating calls would attract him.  Even a disc 
jockey from the Nashua-based radio station, WHOB, 106.3 FM, attempted 
to catch the monkey by wearing a gorilla costume and visiting the 
wooded area where the monkey is believed to hide.

A special trap also has proven ineffective.  The monkey has been 
taking the food -- marshmallow fluff and Reese's peanut butter cups 
-- placed outside the trap, but has refused to grab the bait 
inside.  "He goes around it, above it, or underneath it.  He won't go 
in the trap at all," said Laratonda, who along with an eight-member 
search team checks the trap six times a day.



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