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Monkey escaped from Howletts in Canterbury 'may have been fighting with friends'

An escaped monkey which remains on the loose may have been fighting with other members of his group, say park keepers.

Tamil the macaque disappeared without trace from Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury earlier this week.

Keepers and specialist vets have been scouring the local countryside and setting traps to tempt Tamil back with his favourite snacks of fruit and nuts.

A lion-tailed macaque
A lion-tailed macaque

They have assured members of the public that the lion-tailed macaque poses no threat, but have warned people not to approach him nonetheless.

In a statement released today, Adrian Harland, animal director at the park in Bekesbourne, said efforts to trace Tamil continued.

He said: "‘It is common for young male primates to fight as they become more dominant.

"We're hoping that when Tamil gets hungry enough, we can tempt him back with food" - Adrian Harland, animal director

"Our electric fences are designed to be a deterrent and will deliver a shock when touched.

"However, they are not designed to harm our animals. Tamil would have received a shock - but in this case it was not enough to stop him."

Anyone who spots Tamil is asked to report the sighting to Howletts on 01227 723900.

Keepers spent yesterday searching surrounding fields and countryside and continue to do so today.

Humane traps with Tamil’s foods have been set up in trees overnight but they have not tempted him in as yet.

Mr Harland said: "Our expert keeper teams will continue to search the surrounding areas and are doing everything they can to encourage Tamil to return to his enclosure.

"Thankfully the weather is relatively mild at the moment and we’re hoping that when Tamil gets hungry enough, we can tempt him back with food."

Howletts Wild Animal Park
Howletts Wild Animal Park

Macaques are fruit and seed eating primates native to South India and are characterised by their white manes.

In November 2013 a macaque escaped from Howletts when keepers entered the enclosure to vaccinate the occupants.

Others escapees from the park include a tiger that was shot dead after breaking free from its enclosure in December 2001.

And in February 2009, a pack of eight wild hunting dogs called dholes escaped from the park.

Seven of the animals had to be shot, while another died after being hit by a train near Bekesbourne.

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