Ever since the breakout, the people of Kingussie have been following the whereabouts of a fugitive in the Scottish highlands.
There he was, breaking into a backyard to scoop up some food as a couple filmed in shock. A drone spotted him from above, stalking underneath the branches of a tree. Some cheered him on in his bid for freedom; others were simply impressed he had managed to elude his finders for so long.
But on Thursday the search was over: Animal keepers finally captured a monkey days after he broke out of his enclosure in Highland Wildlife Park.
The Japanese macaque, who some had nicknamed “Kingussie Kong,” was caught and tranquilized Thursday morning, after a member of public called a hotline to report it was eating from a bird feeder in their garden.
“The monkey is on the way back to the park with our keepers, where he will be looked over by one of our vet team,” said Keith Gilchrist, an operations manager at the Highland Wildlife Park in a statement, adding that he would be reintroduced to the park’s troop.
The monkey’s real name, he added, was Honshu.
It was the denouement to a whirlwind that had engulfed — or at least amused — the communities of Kingussie and Kincraig in the Scottish highlands, where about 1,500 humans live. Since the macaque went on the lam, his fate had drawn reporters who waited nearby for updates on the monkey’s location.
“Everybody is rooting for this monkey,” said Carl Nagle, a Kincraig resident who spotted the monkey on Sunday in his backyard, apparently snacking on even more birdfeed. “He must be having a ball living his best life.”
For his part, Mr. Nagle said he was “hugely relieved,” that the monkey was caught, saying that he needed to return to his troop. “It’s been five weird and wonderful days.”
He wondered if the monkey knew it was time to call the gambit off, given that members of the national press were gathered near the park. “This is ridiculous — and yet it is somehow perfect,” Mr. Nagle said.
“He’s going to go home and we’re all going to look at each other and go: Why are we here?”
The Japanese macaque, also called the snow monkey, is native to Japan, where its population has recovered in recent years. Park authorities had warned the public to report sightings and not approach the animal, and to keep sources of food inside, but added that he was not “presumed dangerous.”
He had been one of a troop of more than 30 animals at Highland Wildlife Park, and park officials had told the BBC that the monkey may have run away after tensions during breeding season.