California Zoo Monkey Dials 911 After Somehow Finding Cellphone

by Emily Morgan

Talk about monkeying around. When 911 dispatchers answered a routine call, they had no idea who was on the other end of the line. As it turns out, a monkey at a California zoo dialed 911 after getting a hold of a cell phone.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said it received a 911 call on Saturday night that disconnected. Later, when dispatchers attempted to call the number back, nobody answered.

California monkey steals zoo’s cell phone, chaos ensues

Later, deputies were sent to the cellphone’s location to determine if someone required assistance. When they arrived at the zoo’s address near Paso Robles, the employees said that nobody there had made the call.

“Was someone trying to make us look like a monkey’s uncle?” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook after the incident. After some investigating, it was determined that the zoo’s Capuchin monkey, dubbed Route, was the likely suspect.

Before dialing, Route had nabbed the cell phone in the zoo’s golf cart that employees use as they drive around the 40-acre site.

“We’re told Capuchin monkeys are very inquisitive and will grab anything and everything and just start pushing buttons,” the sheriff’s office added.

According to reports, by a rare chance, the monkey punched in the correct numbers to call emergency services.

Theft steals woman’s pet capuchin monkey from vehicle

Several months ago, someone stole a Minnesota woman’s pet capuchin monkey from a parked car in April.

The monkey, whom she named Coco Chanel, was monkey-napped while a family member of her owner, Zaurice Steward, was shopping at a local grocery store. The relative had left Coco in the vehicle, and when they came back from shopping, the monkey was gone.

“Investigators are canvasing the area for witnesses and surveillance footage,” a statement from Maplewood Public Safety said after they launched a search.

“I kind of felt like I failed as a parent, even though this didn’t happen under my care,” the owner said about her missing monkey. “I know she’s terrified. I’m worried for her safety.”

In many states, this specific breed of monkeys is legal to own as pets. However, it is illegal to own a monkey in Minnesota, where the alleged theft took place.

Capuchin monkeys are a small breed of New World monkeys found in Central and South America. The species has featured prominently in popular culture as they are clever and easy to train. In many cases, the monkeys are trained to help people with disabilities.

Currently, it is unknown how many capuchin monkeys are owned as pets in the U.S. However, National Geographic reported that there were around 15,000 owned as pets in 2013. Although prices vary, baby capuchin monkeys sold as pets in the states can cost a buyer over $12,000.