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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Escaped monkey spotted near zoo
Colobus monkeys come from Mount Kilimanjaro
Colobus monkeys come from Mount Kilimanjaro
A monkey which escaped from Belfast Zoo after an "argument" with his dad has been spotted near his enclosure.

The Colobus monkey has been seen lurking in dense woodland about 300 metres from the zoo's perimeter.

The two-feet tall, black and white animal escaped on Sunday night but a man living near the zoo raised the alarm after seeing him in his garden.

Police joined staff in the hunt for the animal. Zoo manager Mark Challis said the sighting was good news.

"He was spotted yesterday afternoon by half a dozen visitors in the zoo," Mr Challis said.

"By the time we got there he had gone, but that's quite encouraging.

"He knows the zoo and we were hoping to see him back around here. He's lurking."

Eating fruit

The zoo said the monkey appeared to have had "a set-to with his dad" before fleeing the enclosure.

Hours after his disappearance on Sunday, he turned up in the back garden of Johnny and Betty Owens, who watched in astonishment as their nieces fed him fruit and vegetables.

Mr Owens said he could not believe what he was seeing.

"I was sitting there last night watching television and just happened to look out the window and saw this beautiful black and white monkey going up and down the gazebo and I couldn't believe my eyes," Mr Owens said.

"I phoned my nieces and they stayed for a couple of hours and fed it."

He said he contacted the police, who notified the zoo.

"They in turn said it had settled down nicely for the night and they'd start their search in the morning."

Earlier this week, Mr Challis said the monkey came from a relatively shy, nervous species.

"They come from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, so they are quite a tough species of monkey. The cool air nights shouldn't bother them too much," Mr Challis added.

"We have a very capable and trained escape team in the zoo. We wouldn't want people to approach him too closely, but if they can keep an eye on him and see what he's up to that would be ideal."

A red panda escaped from the zoo in December 2002.

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