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No more monkey business

Lebanese monkey nabbed after 2-week chase in northern Israel

Experts from Yodfat Monkey Forest finally manage to tempt vervet into cage with food after he was spotted in villages and towns around northern Israel but evaded capture

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

A vervet monkey that escaped from a farm in southern Lebanon, crossed the border into Israel and evaded capture for two weeks, was finally tempted into a cage with food, June 6, 2019. (YouTube screenshot)
A vervet monkey that escaped from a farm in southern Lebanon, crossed the border into Israel and evaded capture for two weeks, was finally tempted into a cage with food, June 6, 2019. (YouTube screenshot)

Israel has finally managed to get an actual monkey off of its back.

A vervet monkey that escaped from a farm in southern Lebanon last month, crossed into Israel and was spotted in various locations in the north of the country was caught Thursday, ending a two-week chase.

Staffers from the Yodfat Monkey Forest in Yodfat, south of Karmiel, managed to tempt him into a cage with food after tailing him for several days.

Over the last two weeks, the mischievous primate was filmed monkeying around in the villages of Zar’it and Shtula and the Arab towns of Hurfeish, Deir al-Assad and Majd al-Krum, just west of Karmiel, more than 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the Lebanese border.

He had escaped from the Ship of Peace farm run by Beatrice Maugerin, a French nun, in the village of Qouzah, near Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon.

The nun turned to the Lebanese government, which asked the UN to formally ask Israel to catch the slippery simian.

Three staffers of the Yodfat monkey farm spent five days trying to track and snatch the monkey, the tourist site said in a Facebook post Thursday night.

“It happened today. We caught the Lebanese monkey. He’s doing fine and is in good condition,” the farm said in the post.

The vervet spent Thursday at the monkey farm and was set to be handed over by IDF soldiers to UN officers on Friday before being reunited with his owners.

The Ship of Peace farm is described as providing a safe place for Muslims, Christians and Jews.

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