Escaped pet primate in South Carolina was not captured alive

An escaped monkey recently recovered in South Carolina was not captured alive, a county official said Thursday, several days after an earlier statement said the “attempts to capture” the animal “were successful.”

“I can confirm that the monkey was not captured alive,” Colleton County Deputy Administrator Meagan Utsey told CNN, referring to Bradley, a 15-year-old macaque who escaped from his home in Walterboro, South Carolina, 48 miles west of Charleston.

“Colleton County initially assisted the owner in his search for the missing animal; however, no Colleton County personnel or resources were involved in this incident,” Utsey said. “We have no information related to what happened except what the owner has shared with us.”

On Monday, Colleton County Animal Services said in a news release that “attempts to capture Bradley were successful,” citing the monkey’s owner. The release did not say how the monkey was captured or where it was found, but animal services expressed gratitude “for the public’s support” in finding him.

“We so appreciate the community’s support for animal welfare,” the release said.

The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office had advised residents in a Facebook post last Friday a primate was loose somewhere in the Walterboro area. The sheriff’s office said the animal’s owner was attempting to capture it and called in assistance.

The monkey had lived in Walterboro for the past six years, according to animal services.

“Animal Control and the Sheriff’s Office have received numerous tips as to Bradley’s location but because of the attention this situation has caused on social media and news channels, people who are trying to get a look at Bradley are sadly hampering the owner’s efforts to catch him,” said animal services director Laura Clark.

Professionals were hired to help reunite Bradley with his owner, Clark added.

An image taken by Walterboro resident Tiffany Edenfield seems to show the primate standing in the grass. It has a red face, similar to some species of baboon and macaque monkeys.

One Walterboro resident, Kordell Brabham, didn’t believe his grandmother at first when she said she had spotted a “monkey” in the yard.

“Nana, I think you need to go inside, it may be a little too hot out here for you,” Brabham said he told her.

But soon after, he spotted the animal his grandmother was talking about.

In a video shared with CNN, the escapee can be seen walking on top of a shed. Brabham was shocked and said the first thought running through his mind was, “don’t get too close, that’s a monkey.”

The animal eventually climbed down from the shed and went into a nearby yard, Brabham said.

Residents had been advised not to approach the primate, which the sheriff’s office said “could be stressed,” and only to report sightings. “Please monitor your pets while they are outside as a precaution,” the sheriff’s office added.

The sheriff’s office had received a report of the primate “attempting to attack a resident’s dog in a yard,” according to South Carolina news station WLTX.

It’s unclear how the animal got loose or came to live in Walterboro, a city of over 5,000 people.

South Carolina law says it’s illegal to purchase or possess great apes – chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. But it is legal to keep other wild animals as pets, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Smaller primates like monkeys and baboons seem to fall outside the state’s law on possessing wildlife.

CNN has reached out to officials for more information.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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