Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Monkey Business over

Good news about the return of a Cotton top Tamarin stolen from a Queensland zoo!

'Conchetta' the Cotton Top Tamarin

Victim of illegal pet trade: Conchetta the Cotton Top Tamarin was stolen last year and was handed back to police. Source: The Daily Telegraph

SHE was kidnapped, saw her partner's murder, and lost her babies but after four months Conchetta has been found.

The tiny cotton-top tamarin was yesterday handed over to the Symbio Wildlife Park near Wollongong, from where her new owner believed Conchetta had been stolen in May.

Vets yesterday confirmed the 12-year-old monkey had indeed been stolen - but from a Queensland zoo in October.

Conchetta's true identity was uncovered when her current owner, a 34-year-old Victorian man, flew to Wollongong to hand over the pet a friend bought on the internet.

After research, the new owner realised his unusual monkey was a critically endangered cotton-top and must have been stolen from a zoo.

Eight monkeys were stolen from Symbio Zoo last year. Seven were found but a male, Rico, is still missing, leading the man to think he was his pet.Assistant general manager at Brisbane's Alma Park Zoo, Dena Loveday, yesterday was elated Conchetta was found.

She said Conchetta's partner Tonto was found beaten to death in a suburban backyard days after the October 10 theft and they feared then-pregnant Conchetta was also killed.

"Pretty much we had given up hope for Conchetta after what happened with Tonto," Ms Loveday said.

"That species don't do well without their mates, they pine away, don't eat and often die."

Conchetta will be quarantined at Symbio until a vet gives her the all-clear to go home. It is unlikely her twins survived.

Ms Loveday said she may have aborted them through stress or given birth but been unable to look after them.

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