DODGE CITY — Two capuchin monkeys at Wright Park Zoo are back home, while one still recovers from surgery.
Wright Park Zoo and Dodge City staff have stated that the investigation is still ongoing into how monkey Vern was injured and how monkey Pickett came to be outside the enclosure.
According to city officials, Vern was found with minor injuries the same morning it was reported that Pickett was located outside city limits in early September.
City staff said, "after further veterinary treatment, it was found that the injury was more extensive than it initially appeared and would require surgery. When originally reported on, it was not yet determined how Pickett came to be outside the enclosure or how Vern was injured."
Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis said, "Based on DCPD’s investigation as of today, we do not believe the little monkey, Pickett, found his way outside the enclosure on his own, nor do we believe he traveled to where he was found on his own.
"His father’s injury appears to be from blunt force trauma in excess of what would occur from a fall."
The investigation conducted by DCPD suspect that someone gained access to the enclosure and injured the older monkey as he tried to protect his offspring from being taken.
"Vern is very protective of the younger monkey and would not have let him go without a fight," said Wright Park Zoo head zookeeper Hannah Schroder. "Unfortunately, this suspected altercation resulted in a broken knee cap."
Wright Park Zoo veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Wipf stated the best course of action for recovery was for Vern to be transferred to Kansas State University for surgery, according to Schroeder.
Vern's surgery was performed on Sept. 10, by veterinary and orthopedic specialists at KSU to repair the broken bones and was deemed successful.
"Vern is recovering well but will have to spend the next six to eight weeks away from his family while he recovers," Schroder said. "He is back at the zoo and will remain behind the scenes until his injuries are healed."
If anyone has any information regarding this case and wants to remain anonymous, text "DCPD" and your tip to 847411 (tip411).