Bitter lesson for thieving monkeys

  • Breaking
  • 11/04/2011

A gang of cheeky monkeys at London Zoo are being trained to turn their backs on their criminal ways.

As the sunny weather has finally come to London, the Zoo's Bolivian squirrel monkeys have taken to pinching the sunglasses right off the heads of visitors.

"At the moment the squirrel monkeys are getting a bit cheeky and they're starting to steal some sunglasses from visitors," said Zoological Society of London (ZSL) keeper Kate Sanders. "They like to see the reflection in the lenses…they're just a bit cheeky really - especially young ones. We've got five babies who are about a year old and they're the cheekiest and they love the glasses the most."

Zoo staff are putting in place deterrents to curb recidivist behaviour in the small primates

"[We’ve] got a bit of a plan. We're going to spray the glasses with something called bitter apple. It's a spray which tastes really bitter and they don't like it," Sanders explained.

This is not the first time the Zoo has had to discourage the monkeys from theft; they encountered a similar problem with mobile phones several years ago.

Bolivian squirrel monkeys naturally live in rain forest habitats. The London Zoo participates in a breeding programme for the monkeys which aims to raise their numbers.

3 News / Reuters

source: newshub archive