Escaped Monkey Caught With Yorkshire Pudding

Honshu the Japanese macaque escaped from Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park on Jan. 28. For five days, he was on the run around the Highlands. His keeper finally caught him on Thursday. The runaway monkey was lured into a garden by peanuts and Yorkshire pudding left out for the birds.

Honshu back in the wildlife park.

Bummed out, Honshu is back in the wildlife park. Photo: UNPIXS/RZSS


An unusual-looking bird

Stephanie Bunyan was having her morning coffee and scanning her garden’s bird feeders when she spotted the monkey. The night before, she had put leftover Yorkshire pudding into the feeders. The next morning, she was surprised to find it was already completely gone. Then she spotted Honshu, nicknamed Kingussie Kong after a nearby Scottish village, sitting on top of her garden steps and peering into the window.

Bunyan immediately called the wildlife park, which had set up a monkey hotline in their search for the famous escapee. Soon, drone operators and park keepers arrived to catch Honshu. Meanwhile, the monkey was happily jumping over Bunyan’s roof and playing in the gutters. The keeper’s first tranquilizer dart missed, but the second one found its mark.

A Japanese macaque.

A Japanese macaque. Photo: Shutterstock


A vet immediately checked Honshu over. “He doesn’t seem to have lost any weight and has apparently consumed quite a lot of peanuts during the past five days,” Keith Gilchrist, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said in a statement.

The keepers had been scouring the area for days trying to locate the Japanese macaque. The Cairngorms mountain rescue team even offered to loan their thermal imaging drones to fly over the Highlands and detect the missing monkey, but high winds nixed that idea. Officials asked locals to take in any outside food items to encourage the monkey to move back toward the zoo.

An epic monkey hunt

On Monday, members of the public spotted Honshu heading back toward the wildlife park, but hopes that he would wander back into his enclosure of his own accord were short-lived. Over the last few days, several people have phoned to report sightings of the monkey, but the team was never able to get there in time.

“There’s been a daily epic monkey hunt going on in this village in the last couple of days,” Carl Nagle of the village of Kincraig said after spotting Honshu in his garden. “You would think we were chasing an international fugitive instead of an innocent monkey.”


It is unclear why the monkey initially ran away. But it could be to avoid fights with other monkeys in the enclosure.

“It’s a very dynamic group of animals with quite a strong hierarchy,” said park official Keith Gilchrist. “This time of year is breeding season, so tensions run high, and sometimes fights break out over breeding rights. When that happens, the animals’ adrenaline can sometimes override everything. Rather than get into a fight, it seems this one [just went] for it and got past the enclosure’s perimeter fence.”

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.