Monkeys apparently opened their hearts and their enclosure to a tiny, lost kitten this week at Discovery Wildlife Park.
The owner of the Innisfail attraction, Doug Bos, said the kitten should not have survived its visit with the four Japanese snow macaques.
“Monkeys are not nice animals. If gophers or mice get in there, they kill them. They didn’t do that,” Bos said.
“Somehow, the monkeys nurtured it and took it in.”
He said staff found the kitten in the enclosure on Thursday morning while doing routine cleaning and feeding. The enclosure has a rubber flap door, so the kitten would not have been able to open it.
“It’s pretty sturdy because monkeys are pretty abusive to stuff. It takes a little bit of effort to open and close it.”
He said Japanese snow macaques, which came from a zoo that closed down about 15 years ago, are probably one of the meaner monkeys. They are aggressive to their own kind, and are carnivorous.
“If I would have guessed the outcome of this, I would have guessed that the monkeys would have killed the kitten, but it was the exact opposite.”
He said the scrawny, starving kitten, which could fit in the palm of your hand, also had to squeeze through the chain link fence made up of five-centimetre squares.
“I think maybe the monkeys pulled it through the chain link. It’s not easy for the kitten to get through there.
“The whole thing was surprising.”
Bos said it was cold and rainy on Wednesday night when the kitten likely made its way into the monkey cage.
Someone could have dropped it off at or near the wildlife park, thinking it would be found by staff. It was not a feral kitten, because it was used to being handled.
Considering what could have happened to the kitten at any of the animal enclosures, hopefully, no more domestic animals will be dumped off at the park, he said.
At times, wildlife have been left at the park’s gate. Last fall, a cougar cub, only a few weeks old, was left in a box. Despite efforts to save it, that cub died.
Bos said the situation with the kitten and monkeys was shocking.
“In all our years of doing this, we’ve had lots of stuff dropped on our doorstep. But this is the first time something like this has happened and ended up in an animal enclosure.”
The kitten was adopted by a staff member and was doing well.