2 dozen monkeys escape wildlife park

More than twelve monkeys broke out of a southwestern German zoo and spent the day lying in the sun near a forest before being recaptured.

The Barbary macaques, commonly known as Barbary apes, escaped from the zoo in Loeffingen, southwest of Stuttgart and not far from the Swiss border. It was not entirely clear how they got away, but construction work at the zoo might have been a factor, police said.

The primates were spotted roaming the area in a pack, but zoo staffs were unable to recapture them and eventually lost track of them.

“The animals apparently took advantage of the nice weather and spent the afternoon on the edge of a forest near the zoo,” police said.

Zoo workers finally caught up with the fugitives later in the day as they basked in the sun. 

Native to North Africa, the ginger-furred toddler-size macaques are typically harmless, timid and fearful of humans, according to the Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation NGO.

Police in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg had warned passersby not to try to feed or catch the macaques, as that could intimidate them or prompt them to lash out.

The Barbary macaque is native to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa and has a small but famous presence across the water in Europe in the British territory of Gibraltar.

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