Monkey that went on run in Highlands begins 'next chapter' with move to Edinburgh

The story of the monkey who escaped from Highland Wildlife Park and went on the run for four nights is not over yet.

Another stage in the incredible journey of Honshu, the Japanese Macaque who grabbed worldwide attention after breaking out from Highland Wildlife Park, begins this morning.

More than a month after he was captured following his four-night adventure, the seven-year-old monkey is being moved to Edinburgh Zoo.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Honshu broke out of his enclosure, climbing over the electric fence, possibly to avoid a row with other males in the extensive group of Japanese macaques.

Monkey hat went on the run in Highlands begins 'new chapter' with move to Edinburgh.Monkey hat went on the run in Highlands begins 'new chapter' with move to Edinburgh.
Monkey hat went on the run in Highlands begins 'new chapter' with move to Edinburgh.

Now, it has been decided he can’t return to the compound at the zoo at Kincraig, home to almost 40 monkeys, given the “complex” group dynamics at play in his wider circle.

Read More
Sign up for our breaking news updates with the latest headlines sent straight to...

Early this morning, he and three other macaques, who will form a new “mini-troop”, left Highland Wildlife Park by lorry for a fresh start in the capital.

Darren McGarry, head of living collections at RZSS, said, "Primate group dynamics can be very complex, especially in a situation like this where an individual is separated from the troop for an extended period of time.

“Honshu is also of the age when macaques disperse or move away, so it would have been very difficult to reintroduce him to his wider family. Instead, we want to create a new, mini-troop for him, comprised of three other male macaques of similar age – just like with our giraffes. Thankfully they have settled in well together at the park and are now being moved to their new home at the zoo.”

RZSS animal keepers and vets, and an animal detection expert, successfully returned Honshu after his escape in January using a thermal imagine drone after he was discovered stealing food from a birdfeeder in a local garden.

He was found on the morning of Thursday, February 1 at a bird feeder in a back garden in Insh, where homeowner Stephanie Bunyan left a cold Yorkshire pudding out the night before.

The escape of Honshu generated worldwide interest with camera crews descending on Kincraig hoping for a glimpse of the monkey with Honshu also becoming a star of the internet as people became captivated by his antics.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Honshu spent four nights at large following his break out, which led him to cross the main Inverness to Perth and a number of roads before appearing in back gardens and nibbling on bird feeders before disappearing into the woods again. Locally, he was crowned Kingussie Kong.

Keith Gilchrist, living collections operations manager at Highland Wildlife Park, said, "We were amazed by the level of interest in Honshu’s escape from across the globe but our only priority throughout the process was to secure his safe return. I’m glad to say that thanks largely to the expertise of the team involved in his recapture, as well as a groundswell of support from the local community, we were able to do just that. Now it’s time for Honshu’s next chapter.”

On arrival at Edinburgh Zoo, the monkeys will stay indoors for the first few days before being able to explore the outdoor area of their new enclosure, opposite the zoo’s red river hogs. Fans will be able to adopt Honshu and others in his new group.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.