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Janice Huser photo
Janice Huser photo
Liam, a small pet monkey, found himself the subject of a search in St. Paul on Monday after he went missing. He was later found in Elk Point.
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Curious pet monkey caught in Elk Point

Aug 26, 2014 11:00 am | Janice Huser

It was a long 10 hours of uncertainty and searching, but at 6:30 p.m. on Monday evening, Debby Hunter got the call she had been waiting for all day – her pet monkey, Liam, had been found.

The situation unfolded shortly after the family stopped at Tim Hortons in St. Paul for coffee at 8:30 a.m. As they arrived at the family’s business shortly after, Pawz ‘n’ Klawz, Hunter soon realized that Liam, a two-and-a-half-year-old Common Marmoset monkey that stands about six inches high, was missing from his carry bag.

Hunter believes Liam likely got out of his bag, and out of the vehicle, while they were stopped at Tim Hortons. What happened after that remains a mystery, but somehow, Liam managed to make a 36 km trip to Elk Point. It was there that someone noticed the exotic animal sitting on a vehicle.

When Hunter got the call, notifying her Liam had been found, she admits it was emotional.

“I was shaking. I was so relieved.”

The Hunter family spent the entire day looking for Liam in St. Paul, and it was both surprising and baffling that the little animal made it all the way to Elk Point. Hunter is thankful for the help received during the 10-hour search. She says locals were eager to help out, and two people even brought out their dogs to help with the search.

Soon after Liam went missing, Hunter took to social media, where she posted about the monkey’s disappearance. Word spread quickly that a monkey was on the loose, somewhere in the area. She says her cell phone was busy all day long, with people commenting and asking about Liam.

By the time Hunter made the trip to Elk Point to pick up Liam, the monkey had made his way into a nearby tree, where he was coaxed out with the help of his 10-month-old brother Charlie and his favourite treat, marshmallows.

“He was very hungry,” said Hunter, adding, other than that, the monkey appears to be just fine.

The Common Marmoset monkey is the only type of monkey that is legal to be kept as a pet in Alberta, says Hunter. She says purchasing the animal requires being on a wait list and being matched with the animal.

The Hunters brought Charlie home in January, and in May of this year welcomed Liam. The two monkeys are very close, and Charlie was obviously upset by yesterday’s events, says Hunter.

“They require a lot of attention,” says Hunter, adding, the monkeys eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, along with some limited sugary treats. The monkeys make the trip from the family’s home, located outside of St. Paul, to the family’s pet store often during the week.

“They come pretty much everywhere with me,” says Hunter, adding, the animals have become part of the Hunter family and are often referred to as “the boys.”

At home, they are primarily kept out of a cage and aside from Liam, Charlie’s best friend is the family’s pet cat.

“They’re not for everybody, but they’re very much part of our family,” says Hunter, who extended a big thank-you to everyone involved in searching for Liam on Monday.

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