Police find four of five rare monkeys stolen from British zoo

LONDON Sat May 3, 2014 11:06am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - British police have recovered four out of five monkeys, some from a critically endangered species, after launching a Europe-wide hunt for the creatures stolen from a zoo in northern England.

Thieves took the monkeys - two female and a baby Cotton-top Tamarins and two Emperor Tamarins - from their enclosures after cutting a hole in the perimeter fence of a zoo at Blackpool in northwest England on Tuesday night.

Officers said they had been making inquiries across Europe as there was "definitely a market for the monkeys".

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Cotton-top Tamarins as a critically endangered species with a worldwide population estimated at about 6,000.

After a widespread public appeal, zoo officials said on Saturday that four of the monkeys were found unharmed at an address in West Yorkshire, about 70 miles (12 miles) from the zoo, on Friday evening. The baby was still missing.

"We are extremely relieved that four of the monkeys have been found safe and well, although we are also saddened that the baby Cotton-top Tamarin has not been found," Charlotte Pennie, head of primates at Blackpool Zoo, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by David Holmes)

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