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Catching a monkey at the airport: How it happened

ACS officer sedated monkey, brought it to safety

SAN ANTONIO – Dawkins, a rhesus macaque monkey, escaped his crate when being unloaded from a flight Monday.

American Airlines cited a malfunction with the monkey's crate.

A huge team of experts from Animal Care Services, the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Airport assembled to get the animal safely back into the crate and to the sanctuary where it was originally headed.

Here's how it all happened:

  • Dawkins ran from the crate to the secure baggage handling area, where passengers are not allowed.

  • Baggage machines shut down for the hour Dawkins was loose.

  • The monkey climbed up into the conveyers, about 16 feet off the ground.

  • ACS Assistant Director Officer Shannon Sims found a window of opportunity and hit the monkey with a dart gun to sedate it.

  • Zoo veterinarians tended to Dawkins, assessing its condition and issuing medicine to reverse sedation.

  • Dawkins is now safe and sound at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary.


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