Search for 'Santa Fe Monkey' Continues in Texas
Reports of a mysterious primate loose in Santa Fe, Texas, have yet to be resolved, according to authorities.
The reports began in the early morning hours of Monday, September 9th, when Santa Fe resident Patricia De La Mora said she saw a large primate at around 2 a.m.
Patricia said that she and her husband, James De La Mora, were awakened by a thunderstorm, and that she was unable to fall back asleep when she heard a noise outside.
“I couldn’t go to sleep because I hear noises and I told him it’s something," she told KVUE. "[James] said maybe it’s a dog. [I] said 'no,' I said it’s outside go check. So I can’t sleep, it’s like two o’clock, I look out the window and I see it was in there. It was a monkey, a big one.”
According to Patricia, she did not have time to get to her phone in order to take a picture. She was stunned by what she saw and stood by the window, paralyzed with fear.
“He tried to find something," Patricia said. "And he looked over there, then he looked over there, and I closed the curtain. I didn’t want him to see me.”
The animal left shortly after, but was soon followed by a series of cars sweeping the area with searchlights.
"Right after that we saw some cars coming by flashing lights," James said. "We thought it was the police but it was just regular cars. With big big flashlights."
At first, James wasn’t sure what to think of his wife’s sighting, but seeing the cars convinced him something strange had happened.
"When they come looking with the flashlights, then I knew," he continued. “I think that somebody owns it or has it illegally you know, because it’s dangerous to have an animal like that in a neighborhood.”
Galveston County game wardens with the Texas Wildlife Commission said they believed the primate could be a chimpanzee.
But James said the animal was as big as a person.
“It was a big one," he said. "Like a person. It was big.”
The Santa Fe Police Department said that they are unable to confirm the sighting, but that it “would not surprise them” if it were true. Residents possess a variety of animals, they said, even some that are prohibited by law.
According to Sarah Haywood, the director for Bayou Animal Services, which serves as animal control for the area, they have received several "viable" reports following the De La Moras’ sighting.
“We’ve talked to three people who seem like viable sources, that it could have happened,” she told KHOU. “And it sounds like it was more of a smaller animal. So, maybe a capuchin [monkey] or maybe a spider monkey. I mean, it could be a raccoon standing on two legs. I don’t know.”
Many residents are enjoying the search and flooding social media with ‘Santa Fe Monkey’ parody accounts, but Patricia and James De La Mora took their encounter seriously.
"Yesterday, today, I’m always looking up in the trees," said Patricia following her sighting.
“I think it’s still around," James said. "They haven’t found it. We’re going to think it’s still there until they find it. When they find it we’re going to be in peace.”
For their part, Bayou Animal Services said that they are monitoring the comments on social media, and will continue to look for the animal.
"We are going to take it seriously. We are going to make sure that we do our due diligence. We have searched the area," Haywood said. "We still have people searching the area. And if we hear of another sighting we will go out and keep everybody updated."
Bayou Animal Services asks that residents take the following steps to aid in their investigation:
Do not approach, chase or try and catch a primate if you have sighted said loose monkey.
Take a picture and call animal control ASAP. The picture is to verify what type of monkey this is. Knowing the type will keep this monkey safe if it needs to be tranquilized.
Do not go searching for the monkey. Extra people looking for this animal is going to cause a risk of someone getting hurt.
A Team that is certified in dealing with primates is on the ground now helping us locate the animal. Do not interfere. Do not attempt to help. They are professionals and know what they are doing.
Please do not call animal control or the police station with false statements you yourself are unable to verify. This is not helpful to the authorities or to the animal.
While authorities are reportedly searching for a small animal, likely a primate, investigator Tobias Wayland wondered why certain details of the De La Moras’ report seem to have been ignored.
“I find it interesting that the only witnesses we have on the record described the creature as being ‘big…like a person,’ and yet the authorities are insisting it’s a small animal,” he said. “Why is that, exactly? Where are the other reports that convinced them of such? Right now, it seems like that part of the De La Moras’ report was dismissed as being inconvenient to the narrative.”
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