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A love-sick monkey desperate to flee her enclosure to be with her mate has learned how to short circuit an electric fence - with a wet blade of GRASS.
Bella, a Sulawesi crested black macaque, was left distraught after zookeepers removed dominant male Malino from her pen. She and a group of female pals managed to clamber out and search for him, prompting staff at Jersey's Durrell Wildlife Park to erect an electric fence. But love-struck Bella refused to give up and soon devised a way to short the power by prodding the charged wire with wet foliage. Keepers rigged up a second layer of fencing but crafty Bella simply adapted her trick by balancing a blade of grass across the two.
The pink-bottomed lonely ladies have now been moved to a temporary new home but it is hoped they will forget Malino once his replacement, Kato, arrives in two weeks.
Durrell spokesman Rick Jones said: "These monkeys are extremely intelligent and Bella had learned this either by trial and error or by watching another monkey do it. "The issue with these monkeys comes down to 'backing up' of males in a population. When there are females in the troupe they are always led by a dominant male. In the wild when a young male reaches a certain age, he will either challenge to take over a group or move on."
"In captivity, they can't move on, so we had to make a second enclosure and split our group when a certain male comes of age. This is a temporary measure while we find a suitable new home in another reputable wildlife park for one of them."
Rick explained that a decision was made to move Malino to another wildlife park in order to preserve the genetic purity of the monkeys as he has already fathered several members of the troupe.
Sulawesi crested black macaques are the most endangered of the seven macaque species that live on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The main threat to their survival is over-hunting for food as they are served up as a delicacy on special occasions such as weddings.