Reward offered for monkey's return in Tupelo

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - A businessman said Thursday he is offering a reward for the capture and return of Oliver, the white-faced capuchin monkey that managed to escape from the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo.

The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, is offering a package including a weekend stay at the Tupelo Hilton Garden Inn and special tours of the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum and the Tupelo Automobile Museum.

The reward also includes one of Oliver's favorite foods - a case of bananas.

The nine-year-old capuchin, a species of monkey native to South and Central America, freed himself at about 8 a.m. Tuesday and led park staff on a chase through the park's trail system before eventually eluding them.

Park employee Ann Stewart said Oliver will respond to his own name and may take bait of bananas, marshmallow or grapes.

She urged people to call the park if they spot the mammal. "He will bite. People around here have handled him, but he will bite. Just call the Buffalo Park," Stewart had said Tuesday.

Since the monkey's escape, numerous residents in the area have reported seeing the mammal. One resident even tossed it slices of watermelon, which Oliver ate before running away, according to a article.

This isn't the first time Oliver has escaped from the zoo. About six-years ago the monkey escaped and ran amok on the grounds of Tupelo Country Club before being captured and returned to the zoo.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)