SANTA FE – On Monday, September 9th, the Bayou Animal Services Animal Shelter has stated there is apparently has been reports of a chimpanzee on the loose in the Santa Fe area.
According to the staff at the shelter, the animal was allegedly last seen in the area of 19th Street and Avenue O on Monday.
Preliminary information from the animal shelter states that reports from the community the chimp has been spotted harassing people and dogs and attempting to take cats.
None of the claims of the harassment from the community have yet to be verified as of Tuesday evening according to the Bayou Animal Services.
Bayou Animal Services has been attempting to locate the chimp with the use of a drone from the League City Animal Control.
There have been reports that the chimpanzee remains at large and officials have called off the search according to the shelter officials.
Officials have stated that a team of primate specialists has been requested to come into the Santa Fe area to help search for the chimp.
No one at this time has come forward to report the chimpanzee is missing and it is unknown if the primate belongs to someone in the area.
To own a primate or any other exotic animal in Texas residents are required to have a Wildlife Diversity Permit that is provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Bayou Animal Services has cross-referenced everyone in the area that is allowed to own a primate and they were all accounted for as of Tuesday.
Although there have been several reports of sightings this week of the chimpanzee, Bayou Animal Services Animal Shelter stated they have only spoken to one person who claims they saw the primate.
Bayou Animal Services released the following statement about the incident:
“Let’s get down to monkey business.
As you know by now, a monkey has been reported loose in Santa Fe.
This is what you need to know.
#1 Do not approach, chase or try and catch a primate if you have sighted said loose monkey.
#2 Take a picture and call animal control ASAP. The picture is to verify what type of monkey this is.
Knowing the type will keep this monkey safe if it needs to be tranquilized.
#3 Do not go searching for the monkey. Extra people looking for this animal is going to cause a risk of someone getting hurt.
#4 A team that is certified in dealing with primates is on the ground now helping us locate the animal.
Do not interfere. Do not attempt to help. They are professionals and know what they are doing.
#5 Please do not call animal control or the police stations with false statements you yourself are unable to verify. This is not helpful to the authorities or the animal.
The safety of residents, and the animal are top priority. Please allow the primate team to do their job, and please keep phone lines free in order for us to take actual verifiable reports.
Citizens are urged to report any sightings to the non-emergency police department number or email Bayou Animal Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Texas Parks & Wildlife spokesman Steve Lightfoot said the animal is believed to be a chimpanzee and that game wardens were aware of the search, but Santa Fe Police and Galveston County authorities are taking the lead on the search for the animal.
Santa Fe Police spokesman Lt. Greg Boody said officers investigated two sightings, but have yet to confirm the presence of the animal.
There were also rumors of an animal attacking people, but Boody said those claims were unsubstantiated.
“I’m not saying that there is no monkey. In fact, I’m sure there is one on the loose. Out here, anything is possible,” Boody said in a statement.
According to the Jane Goodall Institute, a chimpanzee is not a monkey, but rather one of four types of “great ape.” The other types are bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. Chimps are not meant to be pets and can have five or six times the strength of a human being.
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