Memphis monkey "attacks" tall man - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis monkey "attacks" tall man

Still image of monkey and YouTube user NRucker5, image courtesy NRucker5. Still image of monkey and YouTube user NRucker5, image courtesy NRucker5.

(WMC-TV) - A 25-year-old man uploaded a video to his YouTube account of what he says is a jealous monkey attempting to attack him at the Memphis Zoo but officials say the animal wasn't mad, he was just monkeying around.

"'They're white cheeked gibbons," said Abby Dane, of the Memphis Zoo. "They're really a lesser ape."

Here's how YouTube user NRucker5 described his encounter with the gibbon:

"The manager of the cafe told me that the alpha male monkey noticed me the second I walked in the door and started going crazy, because, as the alpha male, he feels threatened by tall males. So she told me to go stand by the window and turn my back on him and that he would attack me."

But Memphis Zoo authorities think the encounter was less aggressive than it appeared on video.

"To be honest, I've actually seen them do the same thing with young children, the male and the female," Dane said. "They're very playful. Those two gibbons were actually hand raised by two of the zoo keepers here at the Memphis Zoo. They're nine and ten years old. So, they're just young and playful."

In fact, the gibbons were placed in the enclosure next to the Cathouse Café so visitors can sit, eat lunch and interact with the animals.

"We want to encourage people to connect with them," Dane said. "That's the zoo's whole mission statement - to connect people to wildlife."

But, at the same time, Dane warns people to always remember that they're interacting with wild animals. So you're encouraged to treat them with respect and shouldn't agitate them, but you also shouldn't mistake a playful hello for a bad temper.

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