Monkey rips off 5yo boy's finger in Portuguese zoo attack

The zoo says the boy tried to feed the monkey peanuts.
The zoo says the boy tried to feed the monkey peanuts. Photo credit: Getty Images

Part of a five-year-old boy's finger has been ripped off by a monkey at a Portuguese zoo. 

The boy was enjoying a day at Santo Inácio Zoo in Vila Nova de Gaia with his family on Friday when he approached the monkey's cage, The Sun reports. The monkey then proceeded to bite part of the youngster's finger and pull it off his hand. 

Police scrambled to fetch the missing finger from the cage while the boy was rushed to Sao Joao hospital where he received specialist plastic surgery. It's not yet known whether his finger was able to be re-attached. 

In a statement, the zoo said the incident occurred as the boy was attempting to feed the monkey peanuts which was "in clear breach of safety measures in place to protect the public". 

"The safety plans of zoological parks are created taking into account the risk category of the species, such as size, speed or bite," the statement read, "but also the type of installation where there are several warnings that alert visitors to the safety measures to be followed, namely not to feed or touch animals." 

It added it was in close contact with the boy's family who said he was in a stable condition. 

Santo Inácio Zoo is home to 600 animals and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic saw approximately 1.5 million visitors each year. 

It reopened on Tuesday after lockdowns forced it shut - lockdowns zoo staff say have affected animals' behaviour.

"There is a change in attitude and behaviour that is noticeable in the transition phases when we have visitors and we no longer have them, and when we start to have them again," explained vet Carla Monteiro. 

According to The Sun, an investigation into the incident has been launched.